In Nagpur, rescue efforts had to be accompanied by strong legal follow up to make a lasting difference. We learned that the majority of the girls prostituted in Nagpur come from the Madhya Pradesh Bedia community, which has a tradition of involving its children and women in prostitution. That level of historically ingrained custom made rescues especially challenging.
In May and August, Freedom Firm rescued 4 girls who had already been rescued in previous years. (Madhura for the 3rd time, Sarasa and Kaveri for the 2nd time.) Baijantibai, the
accused, who continued to pose as the girls’ mother to take custody of them from the Child
Welfare Committee was arrested on the spot and spent 2 months in jail before attaining bail.
This was a small but important victory.
The brothel keepers and pimps had developed a system over the years which allowed
for raids but was quickly followed by the release of the girls back into the hands of their
“parents,” who would then return them to the red light area. Re-rescuing the same girls
multiple times became necessary to expose the system which was failing to protect them.
The legal team brought this to the attention of the courts and the Child Welfare Committee
and it is beginning to make an impact.