Two 13-year old victims rescued from a brothel in Moradabad, UP
On 16th August 2022, we received a lead about a minor forced into prostitution in a brothel in Moradabad, UP. We quickly assembled a team and left for Moradabad.
On 18th August, we found the location and verified the lead.
On 19th August, morning, we met the Superintendent of Police, SP, Crime Branch and presented him with the evidence. He connected us with a member of the Civil Lines police station. The officer we were to meet was busy with a meeting so we went to the Superintendent of Police in Moradabad. He too was unavailable and his assistant wasn’t able to tell us when he would be back, so we returned to the Crime Branch.
Upon reaching the SP’s office, we met a member of Childline (government agency) who started asking us about the minor we were tracking. The SP was clearly displeased that Childline, a government agency specifically for women and children, had no leads or information about the endangered minor we were tracking and instead was seeking information from Freedom Firm.
After this meeting, we called the Civil Lines police station. The officer we had tried to meet with earlier had returned and asked us to come to his office. We went back and met with him and the Anti Human Trafficking Unit.
Finally, we started to discuss rescue strategies. He asked us to connect with the local police for the rescue. We had experienced problems with the local police on previous rescue attempts (anonymous tips to the brothel minutes before a rescue - leading to a locked brothel and a failed rescue) so we shared our reservations about involving them and requested the assistance of his team. He agreed, however the member of Childline refused to assist until we got the help of the local police. Not wanting to waste any more days or time, we went ahead with the team from the Civil Lines Police Station.
On 20th August at 5:20 pm the police and our team raided the brothel and rescued the minor we were tracking. After checking a few rooms, we found another minor. The brothel keeper managed to escape during the raid, but the police arrested two customers. The victims, the two accused, the police, and our team proceeded to the police station to file the First Information Report (FIR - similar to a charge sheet and necessary to file legal charges).
The media was present as soon as we reached the police station. They tried to click a picture of the victims but we shielded them from the media and made a quick dash into the station. (The rescue was in fact highlighted in local news publications.)
For over two hours the police interrogated the customers. The victims were interviewed and shared their details; Mahi was 13 years old and from Bihar and Koki was 13 years old from Moradabad. Mahi was sold into prostitution when she was 9 years old and Koki when she was 10 years old. Mahi and Koki after rescue
We accompanied Mahi and Koki to a One Stop Center after which we went back to the police station to complete all the legal procedures. On 21st August at 1 am, the police completed the FIR.
Mahi and Koki (in red and blue head scarves) heading for medical testing with police and FF staff
Due to a number of delays and challenges, we completed Mahi and Koki’s medical test on the 22 August and their statements were recorded in court only on 25th August. Both Mahi and Koki are safe in a shelter home in Moradabad.