In our early years, Freedom Firm conducted several successful rescue operations in Sangli, a city of 500,000. In the first effort, seventeen girls were rescued. In the following two raids, four more girls were rescued. Since then we have checked for more minors and not found any – a testimony to the fact that Freedom Firm has created a deterrent in that red-light area.
As part of keeping vigilance in Sangli, Freedom Firm leaders met with The Salvation Army anti-trafficking team in August for an initial meeting to see how we might cooperate in the fight. In that meeting, their team shared intelligence about a minor girl who had been trafficked to Sangli and was now somewhere in the red-light area. Freedom Firm operatives were soon on location and began their investigation. Within 48 hours they located the minor girl. The next night, in concert with The Salvation Army and local police, the girl was rescued. Her name is Priya*.
Victimized at a young age, Priya had spent years being sold for sex in Goa and other tourist destinations. Her mother was a devadasi (a religious practice where women are tied to a deity and practice prostitution), and like many casualties of the devadasi system, Priya now believes prostitution is her fate. She emotionally clings to her life of slavery. But we believe Priya can have a different life, and we won’t give up on her!
*name changed to protect identity