Turbhe consists of roughly 200 brothels

On 19 November 2021, our team along with the police raided two brothels in a red light area in Turbhe, a busy suburb in New Mumbai, rescued one minor, one forced major (a Bangladeshi victim and her young daughter,) and arrested one brothel keeper. They were all taken to the Anti Human Trafficking Unit, AHTU, office in New Mumbai. The police officer in charge refused to file a First Information Report. We explained all the relevant laws that had been broken and why the victims had to be immediately sent to a shelter home for their safety. But he ignored our requests, released the brothel keeper and asked his team to drop the victims back at the brothel and then he left his office.

We immediately contacted a few anti human trafficking lawyers and discussed the best course of action to take against the AHTU officer in Navi Mumbai. As directed by them, we filed an official complaint with the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the Police Commissioner, Addl. Commissioner (crime), Assistant Commissioner (crime), Deputy Commissioners(crime) in Navi Mumbai.

Women soliciting customers and brothel keepers keeping a close eye

On Monday, we learned the minor was back in the brothel. The same police officer of the AHTU who refused to book the accused and allow us to file a First Information Report, called us and mentioned they were preparing to raid the brothel again and rescue the minor (since we had escalated the matter to the child protection body, he had consulted the Child Welfare Committee and a public prosecutor, both who pointed out to the grave mistake he made. He wanted to make it right and requested us to provide a fresh letter to initiate rescue. We were happy to oblige.

A customer frequenting the brothel

On Tuesday 23 November, the police rescued the same minor that was released earlier. They were not able to track the Bangladeshi victim and her daughter. We have contacted our partner organization in Bangladesh to gather details about her and check if there is any missing complaint filed and our continuing to search for her and her daughter in Turbhe. As for the minor who has been placed at the shelter home, as soon as we receive permission from the Child Welfare Committee, we will connect with her.