Updated: May 3, 2022
On Oct 22, 2021 we learned that Suri was being forced into prostitution in a lodge near Mumbai City. The manager of the lodge shared Suri’s details and picture that revealed she was a minor. We shared Suri’s information with the Anti Human Trafficking Unit and spent several days with them reviewing rescue strategies. After our team member took the police to verify Suri’s location, the police planned the rescue for October 30th.
The raid went forward on schedule on October 30th. At 3:45 pm, we raided the lodge and found Suri in a room with a customer. Suri’s handler was arrested outside the brothel. Our team also rescued 4 women above the age of 18. The pimp and manager of the lodge were arrested, but the owner of the lodge escaped.
After Suri gave her testimony and the police made their initial reports, everyone — all the victims, police, our team and the suspects — proceeded to the police station. While waiting for the police to file the complaint, social workers counseled the victims and discussed potential job options.
Suri and Sahi, the youngest two in the group, answered many questions for the police. We learned about the victims' stories of trafficking. Suri’s “boyfriend” promised to marry her. He brought her from West Bengal and forced her into prostitution when they arrived in Mumbai. Sahi was trafficked to Mumbai only 5 days before the rescue! She has a young son and wanted to return to her village in Assam. After Suri and Sahi shared their information and stories, we accompanied them to the hospital for medical tests. Then they were sent to a shelter home where they will remain safe.
We learned more about the suspects back at the police station. Due to health issues, the manager of the hotel was temporarily released but should be arrested when his health improves. The pimp and handler presented themselves as cocky and unafraid. Although the lodge owner escaped, the police officers already knew about him. While we were in the station, at least ten calls came in from unknown numbers. The callers told the police officer in charge to not report the crime. Thankfully, he was not intimidated and filed the criminal complaint.
Our team left the police station after midnight the next day, October 31st. We celebrate that the police filed one strong case, and are confident they will continue to pursue the case against the manager.