Kolkata, India, April 02, 2018
A painful chapter was finally closed today for two survivors of sex trafficking. The brothel keeper who exploited them for sex in a Kolkata red-light district was finally brought to justice and given 10 years in prison—the maximum sentence for her crimes.
This powerful brothel keeper had masterminded a cross-border sex trafficking network, which lured these teenage girls from their homes in Bangladesh and forced them into sex work in India.
“The victims were lured to migrate to India because of their impoverished conditions,” explains IJM’s Saptarshi Biswas. “They were trafficked into India under the promise of jobs.”
When IJM and local police discovered the abuse and arrived to rescue the girls in January 2012, they shared stories of horrific violence, sexual assault and forced drug use.
“Both victims underwent intense conditioning periods, which includes brutal physical violence, torture and rape till they obliged to be active sex workers. One of the victims was forced to have an abortion and take steroids to gain weight.”
Saptarshi Biswas, Director of Justice Solutions, IJM
IJM has supported public prosecutors in this case since 2012. Courts repeatedly denied bail requests, which helped prevent the brothel keeper from absconding.
On April 2, a judge sentenced the brothel keeper under multiple sections of India’s penal code, including cross-border trafficking and sexually exploitation of minors. The judge also demanded a fine of 100,000 rupees (about $1,500) and recommended the local government compensate the victims for their experience.
Officials had helped the two survivors return home to Bangladesh in 2014 after their testimonies were complete. IJM supported the girls resettle and home and supported them with two years of rehabilitation support as they healed.