KOLKATA, INDIA – Last month, IJM assisted local officials in rescuing two teenage girls—ages 15 and 16—from three traffickers who sold them for sex around Kolkata to private customers.
Police have learned that both girls came from impoverished backgrounds and had dropped out of school to help provide for their families. One of the suspected traffickers—an adult sex worker herself—leveraged this vulnerability to recruit one of the minor girls, and then convinced her to recruit a friend. Police have noticed this chain-of-recruitment tactic more frequently in private networks and are seeking to better understand how these traffickers operate.
In this case, IJM was able to quickly coordinate the rescue operation with local police rather than relying solely on the dedicated Anti-Human Trafficking Units—a promising sign that all of Kolkata’s police officers are building the expertise to combat sex trafficking whenever they see it. IJM congratulated these officers on being so proactive and victim-sensitive throughout the rescue operation and follow-up.
Police have filed a case under India’s laws against kidnapping, trafficking and child exploitation, as well as lobbying charges for sexual violence against children. They also confiscated 30,000 rupees of cash (about A$629) and ledgers recording all the times the girls were sold for sex.
After the rescue operation, IJM staff supported local law enforcement in filing paperwork and then brought the girls to an aftercare shelter where they can receive short-term crisis care, medical assistance, and rest.
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