On 22nd  May, we received information that a suspected minor was being forced into prostitution at a lodge in Pune district.

The next day we went to the Superintendent of Police, SPs, office in Pune. He wasn’t present at the office. His assistant directed us to the Anti Human Trafficking Unit, AHTU, Pune.

Later that evening the AHTU and our team proceeded to the location (a 95 km drive) to rescue Banu. Just 1500 mts before we could reach the lodge, we were informed by the AHTU that the lodge fell outside their jurisdiction and they would not be able to go ahead with the rescue. We tried to convince the AHTU to go ahead with the rescue (we were afraid of the brothel being tipped off about the rescue operation and the victim disappearing) but the AHTU said the proper protocols needed to be followed.

On 24th we approached the SP of Ahmednagar with evidence of the suspected minor’s exploitation. He directed us to the AHTU, Ahmednagar.  After discussing rescue strategies, we made the 65 km drive to the location. We reached the lodge only at midnight. We got intel that the pimp was not taking on any more customers for the night.

Next morning we were back at the AHTU’s office and after finalising the rescue plan, we made the 65 km journey to the lodge.  

On 25th May at 3:48 pm, the police and our team rescued victim Banu.   Banu kept insisting she was from West Bengal but we had information that she was from Bangladesh. The police arrested the female pimp who appeared to be in her early 40s.  After the police filed their reports we proceeded to the police station which was 35 kms away.  

We reached the police station at 6:30 pm. The police lodged the First Information Report in the early hours of 26th morning.  Later that day we accompanied Banu to court where the magistrate ordered Banu be placed in a shelter home and her medical tests to be conducted.   We accompanied Banu to the shelter home.

On 27th morning we accompanied Banu for her medical tests.   We waited while she completed her tests.  While we were waiting for Banu to complete her last test, a urine sample, Banu escaped. We searched inside and outside the hospital but there was no trace of Banu.

The police filed  a  missing complaint and are following a few leads to track Banu. We spoke to the SP, Ahmednagar, who is positive and confident that they will be able to find and rescue Banu soon.