13 victims of trafficking rescued from Mumbai brothel
The youngest girls were locked in a small cavity in the roof before the police managed to find them
MUMBAI, JULY 2012: Thirteen victims of trafficking were rescued in an operation led by the Mumbai Police and Justice and Care in the early morning of 16th July, 2012. Police stormed a building that has reportedly long been used to force women and girls into prostitution. They searched the building and uncovered a hidden cavity in the roof into which four young girls had been locked when brothel keepers found out about the police operation.
The girls had been constantly told by pimps that the police would arrest them if they were ever found. They were terrified when they saw the door to the tiny space being broken down. But our team members and police quickly reassured them that we were on their side and had come to rescue them.
When they realised they were safe, the girls started talking to our social workers about what had been done to them. They were trafficked from various states all across India and from Bangladesh. Many of them were lured into marrying men that turned out to be traffickers.The women reported not receiving any payment and being beaten badly.
Anika* said that her husband brought her to Mumbai from a state in north India, and sold her to the brothel a month ago. She told us that the brothel keeper beat her and forced her to have sex with customers even though she pleaded with them that she didn’t want to. She was overjoyed that she could finally leave that place. Malini* told us that she was from Bangladesh and had been trafficked by her neighbour two months ago.
Six people have been arrested in connection with this case and booked under stringent local anti-trafficking laws. Police are looking for Anika’s husband and the other traffickers. Justice and Care is working with the girls to plan secure futures for them.
*names changed to protect identity