KOLKATA, INDIA – In the early morning light, IJM staff and local police walked through one of Kolkata's largest red-light districts. They entered a dark brothel with several rooms on multiple stories, all facing an empty plaza in the middle.
The team went straight to a room on the first floor, where they believed girls trafficked from Nepal were being sold for sex. The brothel madam opened the door, and police told her she was under arrest.
The IJM social worker addressed the two girls who were also inside the cramped room, a tiny room with barely enough space for the three beds pushed together. She spoke to the girls in their own language, explaining she was there to help them. Police searched the building. They found another girl in a nearby room that was once yellow, now a dingy brown. The IJM social worker led the three girls out into the sunlight, holding them by the hand.
As police led the brothel madam out of the multi-story brothel, she tried to run away. She broke free for a moment, but then tripped and fell. She was quickly taken into police custody, and now she will face trafficking charges.
The trafficking survivors settled into a secure aftercare home, where they received immediate crisis care. The girls shared how they had come to Kolkata from Nepal when they were barely teenagers. They said they had been in Kolkata's major red-light district for the last five years.
IJM Kolkata Field Office Director Biju Mathew praised the police who led the October 3rd rescue operation and "worked diligently to stop such a heinous crime." He added that the IJM lawyers will start building a legal case to ensure the trafficker is held accountable for her crimes against these three girls – and others: "No young girl should be forced to live in such a way. We will push to convict every offender so they know that, in the end, justice prevails."