Rescued Girl Helps Police Arrest Sex Trafficking Perpetrator

Earlier in November 2019, Mumbai police freed a 16-year-old girl - Farhat* - from sex trafficking. The police pursued the rescue after receiving information from International Justice Mission (IJM).

In this case, local authorities had learned about a group of traffickers selling minor girls for sex through a secretive, invite-only network. These networks don’t sell girls in traditional brothels or bars. Instead, their web of contacts exploits girls through private appointments with customers in unsuspecting homes or apartments across the city.

Mumbai police heard about Farhat being exploited this way, but it took three attempts to infiltrate the network and finally find her in person. They knew about two women suspected of exploiting her—one was a 45-year-old woman who ran the racket, and another was a 20-year-old who lured teen girls into sexual exploitation.

On November 1, police conducted a rescue operation at the targeted apartment where, at last, they found Farhat and brought her to safety. Officers arrested both suspects, as well as a third woman who was similarly offering minor girls for sex in the apartment next door.

Social workers provided Farhat with immediate post-rescue counselling and encouraged her while she gave her statement. She was placed in a loving shelter home where has since been recovering well with further care and counselling.

Amazingly, in the days that followed the rescue, Farhat bravely offered to help police trace additional traffickers in the network. On November 6, with approval from the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), she assisted police in finding and arresting the woman who first trafficked her for sex.

As of now, the police have lodged a case against the four arrested perpetrators, and they are continuing to investigate other pimps and customers within this trafficking web - hoping to free other girls awaiting rescue.

*pseudonym