Freedom Firm rescued Varsha* in June 2011. Varsha was released and re-trafficked, thanks to the systemic failures which Freedom Firm encountered at that time. Fortunately, Freedom Firm’s team was able to rescue her again in 2013.
Unlike after her first rescue, Varsha confided to the social worker that she wanted to leave prostitution. We were thrilled to be able to advocate for her and took steps to transfer her to a better aftercare home in Mumbai. We did not realize it would be another 2 years of continuous effort and at times painful difficulty for the transfer to become a reality.
Varsha’s transfer order was passed in December 2015 but she was not transferred to another shelter home until February 2016, due to police unavailability. This was actually a window of opportunity for Freedom Firm. Once a girl is transferred, it’s difficult to bring her back to the court to testify. In a few cases, the shelter homes refuse to send the girl to testify. When they are released to their parents, they either don’t want to send their girls to testify or are unaware that their daughters were in prostitution in the first place.
Thanks to the delay in Varsha’s case, our legal team was able to take advantage of the situation and request the court to summon her to testify. The court immediately issued summons to Varsha to testify on February 18th, 2016. She stated in court that she was forced into prostitution.
Last week, after a long and patient wait, Varsha was transferred from Nagpur to a shelter home in Mumbai. She will remain safe and have the opportunity to be involved in several activities at the home. We celebrate this long-awaited, next step in Varsha’s journey.
*Name changed to protect privacy