Trafficking is an organised crime – it is so well organised that most of the places where victims endure exploitation have purpose built, well-hidden spaces to cover up their illegal activities and hide the victims. Earlier in the year, our team in India had received information from reliable sources that several women were being forced into sexual prostitution at three different establishments within the same vicinity.
The team spent weeks researching, strategising and planning before deciding to rescue the women. When the time came, our team gathered and all those involved were given their assignments. It is a complex and dangerous task - who endless variables and things that can go wrong. With every misstep, there could be disastrous consequences for those we are trying to help - including threat, beatings or even worse.
The first two locations were fairly straightforward, and thankfully the team was able to successfully rescue 15 women. However, at the third location not a single victim was found. It was suspected that there may have been a tip-off to the brothel owner and they had hastily relocated their victims. With this in mind, someone contacted the informer to see if there were any other options or insights. The informer insisters that he was sure the women were still in the building. Instead of giving up, the search continued, into every nook and cranny of the building, but there was no one to be found.
Just when the team was about to give up, someone noticed something odd about a particular wall. On closer inspection, it was found that the wall was a carefully placed door. As soon as this was discovered, the team was determined to get to the bottom of it, knowing it was too strange to be nothing important. The door was quickly broken down and it was evident that there was a secret passage and a hidden stairway leading to a secret room. After rushing into the room, 11 women were discovered huddled together cowering in fear and traumatised from all that they had been through.
It was an absolute relief when the team came across these women - gladly taking them out of that dark place - their ordeal had come to an end. In total, we were able to rescue a record number of 26 women survivors of commercial sexual exploitation in one day.
However, these womens' journey of rescue and recovery had just begun. They would need a lot of ongoing support, care, training, and future alternatives to make a living. It is a job that our team is very well-equipped for and proud to be a part of. Usually, those that have been rescued are placed into government homes temporarily and then are relocated to a new private home run by organisations like us. Once in these halfway-homes or safe houses, we support the women to become emotionally and physically healthy, and help them develop skills with promising opportunities for future work. This is a place of healing, new beginnings and hope for a better future.
To support our work and enable up to continue more rescue attempts and rehabilitation efforts for women like these, please donate today.