History of the operation:
In December 2021, our rescue team in India received information about the potential sexual exploitation of multiple girls.
An investigation revealed that a network of pimps was active on the 5th floor of an apartment complex, on the same street as a high school. The network focused on girls who attended this school. India was hit by the third wave of the covid pandemic in January 2022, imposing a curfew, weekend curfew and lockdown. This made starting up the rescue operation very difficult.
We had to investigate the whereabouts of the girls for 1.5 months, because they were constantly moved (due to covid) between different apartments and home addresses of customers.
The network employed several boys, known in India as “loverboys,” who took the girls to the apartment complex. They stayed there for a long time and did not return home until late. It was difficult to identify the girls.
For that reason, we contacted the school and obtained permission to carry out an inspection and check the absence list of the students. The girls with an irregular presence were examined and followed by our research team.
We received updates on their daily activities: The girls attended the first two classes and were then picked up by a car and were then taken to the flat. In the evening they were sent home. Only ‘regular’ customers were allowed in the building. Our undercover client was denied access to the girls.
The rescue operation:
In February 2022, the number of covid cases decreased significantly and the evening and weekend clocks were lifted. Our team was finally able to carry out the long-awaited rescue operation. They were in position to follow the girls and the pimp to the flat. But it turned out that the girls, exactly that day, had to stay longer at school because of having to take an exam. In the evening, after finishing their exams, the girls were picked up as expected and taken to the flat. On arrival we were able to raid the flat, with help of the police.
15 arrests have been made and 2 underage girls have been freed. Among those arrested: 1 female trafficker, 1 female pimp, 10 male pimps and 3 male customers.
About the survivors:
Survivor 1 (female, 17 years old): Survivor 1 comes from a family that has had a hard time financially during the covid pandemic. Her father is a taxi driver and her mother is a housewife. When the physical classes started again, she was targeted by the female pimp. A ‘loverboy’, a boy from the neighborhood, was sent to the girl, she fell in love and trusted him. The boy lured her into the flat, where she was held against her will and raped. This was secretly filmed with a security camera. The traumatized girl then decided to avoid the boy and refused to be part of the network. She refused to be sexually exploited. The female pimp blackmailed survivor 1 with the images, if she would not cooperate she would publish the videos on social media. She was not allowed to tell anyone about it, and she also lied to her parents about her whereabouts at night. She was sexually abused and exploited for weeks.
They demanded that she also bring a friend to the flat. At first she kept refusing to lure another girl. But she was repeatedly threatened. Unable to bear the intimidation, she took her classmate and set herself up for a trap: survivor 2. Survivor 2 (female, 17 years old): Survivor 2 Both her parents died in a car accident when she was only 11 years old. She was raised by her grandmother. Despite the difficult start in her life, she achieved excellent grades in school. She was lured by survivor 1 to the apartment complex where she was drugged, rendered unconscious and raped. This too was filmed by the same security camera, she has been blackmailed with the footage in the same way as survivor 2. Both girls have been raped by at least 5 clients a day. They have been trapped in the clutches of the pimps for two and a half months.
After the rescue.
Both girls received immediate counseling from our partners after their release. During the counseling they revealed enough information to the police to track down other perpetrators who were involved in the sexual exploitation of minors. The brave girls have indicated that they now feel safe. They have been taken care of in a government shelter, they will soon be reintegrated. Worth mentioning: The girls are so motivated to continue