On 13th June Freedom Firm’s intervention team along with the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit and police constables from the Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF) attempted to rescue Sita*, a 14-15-year-old in the red-light area of Shevgaon, Maharashtra. Due to a tip-off, the rescue operation was unsuccessful. The team initiated a rescue the next day which again resulted in a tip-off.
The Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) assured his cooperation for a rescue operation the next day, but once again we were unable to rescue Sita as the area had been tipped off.
The SDPO explained that the Shevgaon red-light area, consisting of approximately 50 brothels, is owned and operated by two lawyers, making it more difficult to conduct successful raids and prosecutions.
Acting on new information Freedom Firm initiated a rescue on 5th July with the local police. Three minors – Misha*, Mira* and Kirin* and 12 majors were rescued. Unfortunately, Sita, the first targeted girl could not be found and even Kamna* who was engaged by Freedom Firm’s operative on 4th July was not found during the rescue operation.
Five customers and six brothel keepers/owners were arrested and sent to jail. The girls are at a shelter home where they will have a chance to recover.
*Names changed to protect identity