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Changing the System- Deterrent, Part Two

In Pune, it only took 2 convictions with 5+ year sentences to start seeing a change. First, the brothels started using tokens, then they confiscated cell phones, and customers were not allowed to loiter near the brothel without choosing a girl. These changes were quickly followed by real visible progress evidenced by a reduced number of minor girls in the red light area. This came once Freedom Firm reached their 6th and 7th conviction in the city. Not big numbers, but the change was evident.

Then another thing happened. The accused stopped coming to court.  I know that sounds funny as if court is optional, but at the moment in Pune, for trafficking cases, it is. Currently, out of 33 cases in the Pune courts, 17 have at least one absconding accused. After the convictions started, those accused with cases remaining could no longer come carefree to the court only to return to the red light area for evening business. Girls who had been restored successfully to their homes were coming back in droves to testify in the Pune courts and that sent the message that there were consequences. The cases where the victims had already come or were coming to testify, meant conviction.

Evan Henck, Western Region Director


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