Waiting for Jaya
Day 1 - After dark Jaya* is found in Ganga Jamuna red-light area. She looks 13 to 14 years old and reveals that she has to sleep with 20-25 customers a day ... a staggering number, but she is very pretty and in high demand. The Freedom Firm investigator who found her noticed she walked stiffly, "bow-legged" from the pain of so many encounters. He told her he felt sorry for her and used it as his excuse for not having sex. Jaya also admitted that she wanted out, a rare confession in this brutal industry where no one can be trusted.
Day 2 - The police are contacted first thing in the morning and promise cooperation for the afternoon. The afternoon turns into evening as the Police Inspector is stuck in court - finally, he answers the phone and declares that it can't be done today but promises action tomorrow. In the meantime, Jaya likely has 20-25 more customers.
Day 3 - As promised, the police are ready by late afternoon, in fact, they seem almost eager. Unfortunately, our investigators report from the red-light area that it's mostly closed. Clearly, a message has been sent and the red-light area is on high alert. The electric power in the entire area is cut. If we were to go forward all we would find are empty lanes, locked doors, and darkness. We agree with the police to try again the next day ... at least Jaya will not have customers tonight.
Day 4 - Our investigators check the red-light area early. Business starts in the afternoon but it's slow. None of the young girls can be seen. We wait and wait. No change throughout the afternoon. By early evening it's clear that a raid is expected. Whoever is informing the red-light area knows that we are waiting. We meet the Police Inspector and ask him to officially cancel the rescue operation, but to personally be ready. He agrees and asks us to contact him the next day if the girl appears, just give 30 minutes advance notice for him to prepare a police team. After dark, the red-light area is still quiet. Jaya will be able to rest another night.
Day 5 - Business as usual in the red-light area. We immediately call the inspector but he's in court and won't be available for several hours, so much for 30 minutes. Again, we wait and wait. Finally, after dark the police team is ready. Jaya is seen in front of her brothel and we move toward the red-light area. 5 minutes from the area our investigators tell us to wait. Jaya disappears and her brothel is closed. Other brothels start to close, all of the young girls are gone and brothel doors are locked. We wait for an hour but it's no use, the message has passed and Jaya will not be rescued tonight.
January 7th, 2014 – We are back in Nagpur (as soon as we could) to attempt another raid and have managed to find Jaya again. After briefing the Deputy Commissioner of Police on previous raid attempts to rescue Jaya, he has given us a special group of police to conduct the raid. We enter the area and find her. With the help of the special police, we are able to rescue her and place her in safe custody. The team is now building a case against the trafficker making sure that bail for the trafficker is harder. Most importantly, Jaya is rescued and can hope and dream for a better quality of life.
*name changed to protect identity