August 5, 2022, was like any other bustling day for a city in India, but not for the 17 women trapped in a seemingly normal neighborhood. Snatched away from their families and loved ones, these women were forced into prostitution. They were trafficked from locations across India by a syndicate of human traffickers. While living in horrific conditions without enough food to sustain them, they were coerced to entertain multiple clients per day. The traffickers ensured that any access to money or communication with acquaintances was barred.
The atrocity came to light when one of the women managed to escape and confided in a social worker. This led to efficient networking between Justice Ventures International (JVI), its local partners, and the local police’s Social Service Branch. The team raided the brothel to free the women and apprehended nine members of the syndicate. The agency is now searching for the two main accused who have been leading the trafficking network for many years.
As they recovered from the shock, the survivors shared how they were lured under false pretenses. Poverty was a common factor that pushed them to seek out work opportunities that were deceptive promises. Some had been trapped for more than eight years.
“What moved me was that one of the young girls who wanted to pursue further education was compelled into prostitution to provide for her family, particularly the medical expenses of her father,” a JVI partner staff member says. “We are trying to get her to complete her education and the nursing course that she wanted to pursue.”
Currently, the women are residing in a government shelter home and receiving counseling. JVI will continue to follow them for a minimum of 24 months to ensure their sustained freedom.