Updated: Oct 26
Raya, a minor victim rescued from a brothel in Kolkata
We first learned about 17 year-old Raya on October 14th when we were investigating one of the older red light areas in Kolkata. We collected evidence and presented it to the Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, of the Anti Human Trafficking Unit, AHTU. He asked us to come in a few days to discuss the matter further. That weekend our team continued to discuss rescue strategies and kept Raya under surveillance at the brothel (lest she disappear.)
On October 17th, our team met the ACP. After a brief discussion, he and his team decided to initiate the rescue right away. Our team was ready. At approximately 3:46 pm the police and our team raided
the brothel, and Raya was successfully rescued. The police arrested three
people; two brothel keepers and a pimp, who all appeared to be between 35-40 years old. The pimp’s four children (daughters 12 and 6 years and sons 10 and 4 years) were present at the brothel. After condoms and liquor bottles were bagged as evidence, the police locked the brothel. The victim Raya, the accused (including the pimp’s 4 children), our team and the police proceeded to the police station.
The police filed the First Information Report after which Raya, the accused, and the pimp’s children were taken for the standard medical tests. The pimp's four children were sent to different shelter homes while she is being held in custody. It is so difficult any time children are separated from their parents, even when it's safest for the children. This pimp did not weigh heavily enough the consequences of the environment she was keeping her children in, or the possible outcome of her choices. Hopefully these realities will now cause her to find a new path for herself and her children in the future.
Raya was placed in a shelter home in Kolkata. She appeared before the Child Welfare Committee who passed an order for her to continue to live in the shelter home in Kolkata. She has already been able to participate in a diya-making activity with other girls from the shelter and Freedom Firm social workers. May this be a new chapter of light triumphing over darkness in her life.