Two separate raids by Mumbai Police bring freedom for three women

Over four days, the IJM team at Mumbai collaborated with two local police stations to conduct two rescues, resulting in freedom for three women and arrest for three perpetrators. Both rescues were conducted in very different establishments.

The first rescue on 19 September 2017 was conducted in a brothel in a ‘red-light’ district. The second required a thorough investigative approach to uncover sex trafficking in a private establishment. This private network consisted of a network of traffickers and pimps that connected with customers and provided young girls and women for sexual services upon request.

19 September

As planning and preparations began at the police station, the sky became darker, the weather became more and more treacherous, and warnings of flooding were being issued by every news outlet in the city. The rescue team, comprising police and IJM staff, were however undeterred.

“It was encouraging to see the dedication of the police team, who were committed to proceeding with the rescue despite heavy rains across the city,” said Michael Yangad, Director of Operations at IJM Mumbai.

Police arrived in the “red-light district” of Kamathipura in the evening, and upon receiving the go ahead, raided the brothel on the first floor of the infamous building. Inside, they found the 27 year old victim and two brothel keepers.

The two men had made their money by selling the victim’s body repeatedly. She was forced to perform sex acts and was given only the privacy of a hanging curtain. After rescue, the victim was counselled by social workers from IJM, while police arrested the brothel keepers, ending Commercial Sexual Exploitation in that establishment.

22 September

Three days later, the Samta Nagar Police at Kandivali East took the lead in rescuing two adult victims from a private network.

“Private networks and private establishments are harder to identify because of the covert method of operation. Bus stops, malls and parks have become meeting spots for pimps and customers, as we have seen in this rescue,” said Michael Yangad.

The rescue was conducted at a bus stop that the male pimp used as his transaction spot. Both the victims, aged 22 and 25, were rescued by the police while the pimp was offering their services to a customer.

The male trafficker, along with a female accomplice, worked together as pimps to the two younger women. The victims said they were lured into the trade by the pimps whom they became familiar with, while working for local caterers. Small catering companies have become well-known recruitment fronts for pimps, who lure young women with false assurances of high earning.

Police arrested the male pimp; the female accomplice could not be arrested, due to the statutes on arrest of women. She was instructed by the police to be present at the station in the morning; however, she used the opportunity to flee instead. Her name now appears on the list of wanted accused.

Tracking this new system of sex trafficking through underground private networks is a shift from conventional cases investigated by the police. This rescue shows the significant progress made through the collaboration and coordination of the local police and IJM.

As the weekend began, three women made the move from being victims to becoming survivors. They now look forward to a future, free from exploitation and abuse.