Freedom Firm investigators identified Piya*, a 15-16-year-old in Wani’s red-light area earlier this month. The information was given to the local police to initiate a rescue operation. On 12th October, the police arranged a team of officers in civilian clothes who accompanied our investigators into the brothel area. Piya was found and rescued along with Minu* and Nazma*. The team also rescued Seema*, who was not involved in prostitution but expressed a desire to leave the area.
The girls were brought to safety but the brothel keeper, Parveen Sheikh, was not found. She is also the main accused in another trafficking case filed by Freedom Firm on 31st May 2017. A criminal complaint was filed against her under sections of the IPC (Indian Penal Code), POSCO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act), and ITPA (Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act).
At the police station, the team learned that Seema was married two years ago when she was 15-16 years old, but her husband left her. She was brought to the area by her ‘grandmother’ but was not yet forced into prostitution. Seema's is a case of prevention--if she had not been taken out of the red-light area during this rescue, she likely would have been trafficked at some point.
A medical test was conducted after the rescue to determine the girls’ ages. They are now in a government shelter home where they will be counseled and followed up with by Freedom Firm’s aftercare team.
*Names changed to protect identity