This month Freedom Firm joined forces with the police and other NGOs in a special project called OSM2 (Operation Storm Makers-2) to combat human trafficking in Madhya Pradesh. This area is especially known for its high rates of human trafficking. The strategy was to reopen old cases of perpetrators who were out on bail or had evaded arrest.
On October 16th, the police assigned our team an area where many minor girls are sexually exploited, and there is a strong network of pimps and brothel keepers. We were familiar with this dera as we had worked in it before. Around this time our team was tracking 15 year old Raniya, who we suspected to be somewhere in this city. We attempted to rescue Raniya four times previously, but failed due to tip-offs. We learned from these previous attempts and developed a new rescue strategy.
The village was crowded the next day, which allowed our team and police to enter unnoticed. At 4:30 p.m. we raided the brothel and rescued Raniya. In the past, violent mobs have protested rescue operations in this area, which relies on the income from prostitution. Although we are thankful there was no violence, unfortunately the brothel keepers, Raniya’s parents escaped during the raid. Raniya was taken to a shelter home.
On October 18th, Raniya presented her 164 statement (a voluntary statement in which the victim shares her experience at the brothel and names of the accused), and met with the Child Welfare Committee. The police continue to search for Raniya’s parents and offenders. Our social workers and legal team continue to work to keep Raniya safe.