MANILA, THE PHILIPPINES – Two traffickers have finally been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for trafficking underage girls to a bar and selling them for sex. "Justice was served today for our society," IJM Pampanga Deputy Director Rey Bicol said on January 18, 2013, as the judge announced the decision. Rey is the IJM lawyer who has been working on this case since 2009, when the four girls were rescued.
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.