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Exploring the need in Allahabad

An excerpt of Greg Malstead's investigation report Meerganj, Uttar Pradesh.

Setting out in the evening, we took a cycle rickshaw to the area. I could see girls standing on the street in an adjoining lane. The lanes in Meerganj are very narrow and congested. Girls stand outside the entrance to their brothels, some try to attract passersby, even reaching out and grabbing them. While most call out, some stand or sit passively with vacant stares. A few girls engaged in conversation when I asked, “What is your name, where are you from, how much does it cost?" One group of girls shared their uncooked rice with us. It was the first time I'd eaten raw rice.

The first girl we asked said it would cost Rs. 200 (she looked minor). The next girl (borderline) said Rs.500 and the last I asked, Rani, said Rs. 100. She was a small-framed girl, possibly minor. At the foot of the brothel steps were unwell women and even pregnant women, all waiting for customers.

There were a number of minors in the area, approximately 15-20 brothels in the catacomb of lanes, and perhaps 6-7 girls on average per brothel.

Allahabad has a significant need for anti-trafficking intervention. It is the location of the High Court in U.P. and there are no other organizations addressing this issue. Opening an office in Allahabad positions Freedom Firm for interventions in the whole of North India. One foundation has given a grant for the next three years of operations in Allahabad. Recruiting efforts for a director and other essential staff is in process and the office will be opening in November of 2014.


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