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Overcoming Apathy to Rescue 4 Minors

4 minor victims rescued from a brothel in New Town, 2 people arrested.

On April 11th, we received information about some minors forced into prostitution in New Town, a satellite city in Kolkata. The next day, we went to the police station and shared our intel with the Deputy Commissioner Detective. He was unwilling to cooperate and pressured us to disclose the victims’ details. We refused. He asked us to do the rescue ourselves. Undeterred by his attitude, we made an appointment with the Chairperson of West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR). Though we were unhappy with the delay, the rescue was scheduled for April 27th.

On the day of the planned rescue, we learned from the WBCPCR that the police were busy with a law-and-order situation in New Town. The rescue was canceled. Later that evening we got a call from the WBCPCR. The police would be available and ready the next day, April 28th, to initiate the rescue.

Operation New Town

The next day, we were at the WBCPCR office at 1:00 p.m. After meeting the Chairperson and the officer assigned to lead the rescue operation, we proceeded to the local police station. Once again, we met with resistance and indifference, this time from the officer in charge at the police station. After nothing happened for more than two hours, we left to meet the Assistant Commissioner of Police. When we reached his office, he was sitting in his car. He shared that he was only accompanying us for official reasons and didn’t have anything to do with the rescue. His attitude was also one of apathy and indifference.

At 3:30 p.m., we met all the teams that would be involved in the rescue operation a few kilometers away from the victims’ location—a lodge on the first two floors of a residential building. When we reached the brothel/lodge, we realized that the police had fallen behind and were proceeding without any sense of urgency. We had to wait for a few minutes for them to reach the lodge. Once they arrived, the police and our team raided the brothel. The police arrested two people (and the lodge owner a few days later) from the reception area and rescued four victims from two rooms on the second floor.

The police bagged all evidence, including liquor bottles, condoms, money, and mobile phones. The lodge was then sealed. The victims, the accused, our team, and the police headed to the police station. The police filled out a First Information Report and the accused were booked and put in a cell. We accompanied the victims, aged 14, 15, 16, and 17 years old to the hospital for their medicals. They were then placed in a shelter home.


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