On 22nd August while we were investigating a private location in Nagpur, we got a lead about a minor forced into prostitution in a hotel about 35 kms away from Nagpur city. After verifying the lead, our team made the one hour drive to the hotel.  We saw the victim right away.  Though the brothel owner said she was 18 years old, she looked around 15 years old and was extremely petite.  Without wasting any time, we went to the Anti Human Trafficking Unit in rural Nagpur and presented them with the evidence.  The rescue was planned for the next day, 23rd August.

Rescued victims

On the 23rd, we met with the police at 1 pm and we went through the rescue plan.   Shortly after that, we set out to rescue the forced minor from the brothel. The brothel posing as a hotel had five rooms and a restaurant and bar.  At 2 pm, the police along with our team raided the brothel. In addition to rescuing the minor, we found two other suspected minors and four forced majors in different rooms in the brothel. A 51 year old male brothel owner was arrested. We learned that the accused was also a member of the sarpanch ( leadership committee in the village.)  The police collected evidence like used and unused condoms, a card swiping machine, a crude board stating, pay first, only 20 minutes, bank cheques, a warning letter from the police not to offer rooms to students, an expired letter of establishment  (the license was issued from 2010-2011,) and a large knife. We saw a fire burning within the premises. A close inspection revealed a huge pile of  condoms were being burned. We quickly learned that the accused, though a high profile person, was wanted in connection with a murder and had other criminal charges slapped against him.  The police and our team escorted the victims and accused to the station where a First Information Report was filed.  Two news reporters came to the police station and collected information about the raid (the raid was featured the next day in several newspapers.)

The next day the victims and accused were presented in court. The police requested the judge to grant permission for an ossification (age verification) test for the three victims. After the court hearing all seven victims were placed in a shelter home in Nagpur. The judge ordered the accused to remain in police custody.  The victims will be produced in court on 2nd September to record their statement in front of a judge.  Based on the evidence and statements, the judge will pass an order about the victims, shelter home stay or release.