Thanks to the police presence on raids, Freedom Firm staff are relatively “safe” while doing rescues. However, during investigations there is a much greater danger to our undercover operatives. The very nature of the red-light district, where theft, violence and crime is rampant, is the daily environment of our investigators. Sometimes the smallest mistakes on the part of our investigators will raise suspicion levels in the red light areas, and frequently brothel keepers and pimps become more vigilant, making it harder for our workers to pass unnoticed in the brothels as they seek to identify minor girls.

Surprisingly, its not always just criminals our team has to fear. The red-light district can be a “turf-sensitive” area, where several NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) striving to rescue girls are operating at the same time. Most of the time, NGO’s respect each other’s strengths and differing strategies, and will often network together for the same goal. But sometimes, organizations can stoop to sabotaging others who are doing similar work.

That is exactly what happened earlier this year. An NGO (non-governmental agency), perhaps jealous of Freedom Firm’s successes were the actual instigators in the attack on our investigators.

February 12th , 2014 started out like any other day in the Freedom Firm investigative world. Anand and Munar identified a minor girl and were on their way to Pune’s red-light area to get more information about her. While the number of minor victims in the city had drastically reduced in the last five years thanks to the dedicated efforts of anti-trafficking organisations and the police, our investigators still find minors there occasionally.

The team split up before they reached the location. Unknown to them, an informant had identified them and had alerted the area of their presence so when they arrived at the designated location, there was a mob of 20-25 people waiting, ready to attack them. They dragged Anand to the top floor of a brothel building and repeatedly beat him for about twenty minutes. Munar, who was able to escape, quickly informed the police of what had happened and with their help was able to rescue Anand.

Today, despite the attack and the security risks associated to his cover being blown in Pune, Anand continues to work for Freedom Firm, investigating red-light areas where his identity has not been exposed and assisting in the rescue of victims of trafficking. His firm commitment and undaunted courage in the face of danger reminds us of the very real sacrifices that are needed to see systemic change and the elimination of child sex trafficking in India.

How girls are trafficked