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South Asia

Girl Lured by Fake Romance Finally Rescued and Returned Home Safe

Rescue on 4 July 2022

KOLKATA, INDIA – A complex, cross-country rescue operation has brought freedom to one 15-year-old girl after a kidnapper lured her to southern India.

Her journey highlights the progress of India’s police and government officials in protecting children from violent abuse, as one IJM staff member shared:

“Every department worked with resilience and courage to bring freedom to one child and change her life forever.”

Anusiya* came from a struggling family in Darjeeling, an area in the northern region of West Bengal. After her father passed away, she began working to support her mother and help make ends meet. Her neighbour exploited this vulnerability – sought Anusiya’s trust and made her believe they were in love.

In January 2022, he convinced her to run away with him to Chennai, thousands of miles away in southern India.

While there, the man rented a house in a busy area and told neighbours he and Anusiya were married. He kept Anusiya in the house to cook and clean while he went to work in an audio equipment store. He also forbade her from going to the local shops or finding a job of her own.

At home in Darjeeling, Anusiya’s family was desperate. They filed a kidnapping report with the West Bengal state police. In February, local nonprofits who were supporting the police reached out to IJM for help, as they worried it had become a human trafficking case. The family suspected the man had moved to Chennai, so our team there coordinated with local authorities to begin tracking his location. However, every time his location was tracked, he managed to evade them.

Finally, on 4 July, police were able to successfully locate the kidnapper and intercept him before he and Anusiya could disappear again. With support from IJM, a team of police from both states arrived at the man’s workplace, and his boss referred them to his rented house. They successfully apprehended the suspect and found Anusiya. An IJM staff member shares:

“To see five police personnel travel all the way from West Bengal to act on this case was very heartening. The collaborative response from the police of both states to make sure this minor girl was successfully rescued and their upbeat sense of attitude and action is commendable.”

IJM helped police from two states rescue 15-year-old Anusiya from a man who transported her across the country and kept her in his home.

After the rescue, authorities brought Anusiya to safety at the Child Welfare Committee to help meet her immediate crisis care needs. They provided short-term housing for her and then helped her return home to Darjeeling on 6 July, accompanied by two female police officers. Anusiya was overjoyed to be home.

Anusiya shared her story with the Child Welfare Committee and received crisis care. She was also accompanied by two police officers for a safe journey home.

Local authorities are preparing the initial case against the kidnapper — determining whether it meets the criteria for human trafficking — and will continue working to provide Anusiya the protection and care she needs. IJM will also connect her with local organisations in Darjeeling who can support her long-term healing and recovery.

*A pseudonym

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