MUMBAI, INDIA – Recently IJM celebrated a group of brave police officers in the city of Nanded who successfully rescued a missing 17-year-old girl and arrested two suspects who were trying to traffic her for sex.
IJM first met these officers in February 2020, when our staff led a training in Nanded on how to conduct proactive investigations and other elements of anti-trafficking casework.
Just a few weeks later, these officers called IJM for help with this new case of a teen girl who had been missing from Telangana, the neighbouring state. Together, we helped them build on their training to gather evidence on the girl’s movements and discover the suspected trafficker who was transporting her.
Authorities learned that the suspect had convinced this girl to run away and marry him, but had actually intended to exploit her for sex—a common tactic for many traffickers. He threatened to kill himself if she spoke to her family again, and she stayed quiet because she thought they were in love. Meanwhile, he and an accomplice had taken the girl through Nanded to the city of Pune, which has a large red-light district, and then back to Telangana again.
Police were able to pinpoint the suspects’ location in Telangana and rescue the girl before she could be sold to a brothel or other sex traffickers. Officials are questioning the two suspects in custody, with hopes of uncovering more about this illicit trafficking ring and other girls who may be at risk. They have filed charges against the suspects under India’s laws on kidnapping and sexual assault.
Today, the rescued teen is safely back home with her family, and police have filed for government funding to support her ongoing recovery from sexual violence.
IJM staff are grateful for the diligent work of these officers, who worked tirelessly to find and rescue this girl even during the national lockdown on COVID-19.
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