9 June 2015 7:30 PM AEST: A team of Indian police officers and activists have rescued two underage Nepalese girls from a brothel in Agra.
Worse still, the minors are survivors of Nepal earthquake confirming fears of a widespread exploitation of victims of the disaster by human trafficking gangs. As if luck has not betrayed them enough, the victims of the catastrophic events end up being victims once again, perhaps in less than a month.
Rescue Foundation, a non-governmental organisation in India that combats human trafficking, found out about the existence of the Nepalese girls in the red light districts of the Indian city. The organisation said it had been carrying out reconnaissance of the brothels for a month, before finally leading the Indian authorities to them yesterday, June 8.
India TV suggested the desperate minors from Nepal were enticed through fake marriage prospects and job opportunities.
For many NGOs and members of the international community, the story does not strike as an entirely unexpected development. Ever since the 7.8 magnitude quake left the Himalayan nation in complete disarray, they have been warning something of the sort could happen – that human traffickers might prey on the vulnerable Nepalese children and women. Even former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had voiced similar apprehension while speaking at a press conference at the UN headquarters last month.
Such early warnings did not work it appears. Because, a similar raid was carried out last week during which five more Nepalese girls were rescued from another red light area. Prompt action of the Indian authorities and the NGO saw the rescue of the girls on June 3.
All five were minors and all five were victims of the April 25 Nepal earthquake.
A Facebook post by Rescue Foundation says, “After the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal, we expected many Nepali girls to be trafficked and sexually exploited because many poor families were rendered homeless and without any means of sustenance. We were determined to rescue these unfortunate, innocent girls from the inhuman situation.”
Yesterday’s joint operation (at multiple brothels) showed the kind of cruelties the duped women are put to.
Members of the local police force and Rescue Foundation apparently worked for hours to get into one of the brothels that apparently was fortified with an iron gate. They eventually had to give up trying to open the gate with police officers ultimately using a ladder to access the building through the balcony.
According to a Hindi language news portal, the operation at the second brothel caught 14 customers who were caught red-hand ‘in a cruel game’ with 5 minors. All customers also were detained, it said.