On 11th April we received information about some minor victims who were being forced into prostitution in New Town, a satellite city in Kolkata.  The next day, we proceeded to the police station with the information we gathered on the victims and shared the same with the Deputy Commissioner Detective Department . He refused to cooperate and put pressure on us to disclose the victims’ details.  We refused. He asked us to do the rescue ourselves.   Not allowing his attitude to deter us, we took an appointment and met the Chairperson of West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR).   Though we were not too happy with the delay, the rescue was fixed on the 27th April. 

Police power

When we were ready on the 27th, we learned from the WBCPCR that the police that would be initiating the rescue were busy with a law and order situation in New Town that day. The rescue was canceled. Later that evening we got a call from the WBCPCR. The police would be available and ready the next day, the 28th April, to initiate the rescue. We immediately started to prepare for the rescue operation. 

Operation New Town

We were at the WBCPCR office at 1:00 pm. After meeting the Chairperson and the officer who was assigned to head the rescue operation, we proceeded to the local police station. Once again we met with resistance and indifference, this time from the officer in charge at the police station. After no action was taken for more than two hours, we left to meet the Assistant Commissioner of Police. When we reached his office premises, we found him sitting in his car.  He shared that he was only accompanying us for official reasons and didn’t have anything to do with the rescue. His attitude was also one of apathy and indifference.  

A curious crowd gathers at the brothel

At 3:30 pm, we met all the teams that would be involved in the rescue operation a few kms away from the victims’ location, a lodge that occupied the ground and first floor of a residential building.   When we reached the location and were ready to raid the brothel/lodge, the police noticed that the police were way behind and proceeding without any sense of urgency. We had to wait for a few minutes for the police to reach the lodge. Once they arrived, the police and our team raided the brothel. The police arrested two people (and the lodge owner a few days later) from the reception and rescued four victims from two rooms on the 1st floor. 

The police proceeded to bag evidence like liquor bottles, condoms, Rs five thousand in cash, and mobile phones.  The police then sealed the lodge.  The victims, the accused, our team and the police proceeded to the police station.  The police started to fill in the First Information Report. The accused were booked and kept in a cell.  We accompanied the victims who were aged 14, 15, 16 and 17 years to the hospital for their medicals and were then placed in a shelter home.