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URGENT NEEDS

IJM Supports Authorities on an Inter-State Sex Trafficking Rescue Operation

On February 22, IJM supported police from two states as they worked together to rescue two minor girls from a cross-country sex trafficking ring.

This case came from a partnership we are building with police in Baruipur District, just south of Kolkata. They had noticed a pattern of minor girls from their district being trafficked for sex to other places in India. Baruipur police worked closely with their counterparts in Pune—a city more than 1,100 miles away—to locate a brothel where many of these girls were being abused.

After months of coordination, authorities conducted an operation at the abusive brothel and arrested four suspects who had been running it for 10 years. Police interviewed all the women working there and confirmed two were minor girls who were being forced to stay.

Crucial evidence to build the case came from Manisha*, a survivor who was rescued from this same brothel as a minor in 2018. She gave IJM and police details of how to find the exploitative brothel, and even helped identify the suspects who were abusing girls like her.

“This is the same place where I was trapped for many days,” Manisha told our team. “I wish more girls will get to see their day of freedom like me, apart from the dark rooms in the brothels.”

IJM staff were encouraged by Manisha’s strength and courage. One staff member shared, “It is because of her strong will and determination that the four accused could be arrested. She was able to recognize the perpetrators and pointed them out to police. She also played a key role in talking to the girls who were removed from the brothel.”

The two teens rescued in this case have given their official statements are now getting aftercare support at a safe shelter.

The four suspects were brought back to Kolkata and produced before the court. IJM will continue supporting police in Kolkata and Pune to follow up on others connected to this inter-state trafficking ring.

*A pseudonym.

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