For IJM Kolkata Field Office Director Biju Mathew, it's been impossible not to start the new year with hope, even amidst great darkness: "Here in Kolkata, we have already seen unprecedented action from the government to stop all kinds of rape, from domestic violence to sex trafficking," he says. "As India mourns the death of a rape victim in Delhi, the world is asking 'How will the government respond?'" For Biju, the fact that the Kolkata police have called IJM for help with half a dozen separate sex trafficking cases is a powerful sign of momentum.
MUMBAI, INDIA – Two and a half years ago, a brutal trafficker was convicted and sentenced to prison for running a brothel where girls were sold for sex. But after serving only a couple months of her six-year prison sentence, the trafficker was released from prison on bail.
Soon after she was released from prison, she appealed the sentence. A new series of hearings began. And the trafficker returned to the same red-light district – to start a new brothel. It was business as usual.
MUMBAI, INDIA – Christmas came early to girls living at a Mumbai aftercare home for sex trafficking survivors. Many of the girls rescued in IJM-assisted operations live in this home, where they can resume their studies or learn skills like sewing or baking. IJM social workers and the staff at the home provide critical care and counseling, so that someday these young women will lead healthy, independent lives.
MANILA, THE PHILIPPINES – Thanks to one remarkable girl, seven more young women were rescued this month from a bar where they had been routinely sold for sex. The youngest was only 12 years old, and all of the girls had been trafficked there when they were teens.