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Trafficker Gets 7 Years for Enslaving Five Women Near Bangalore

BANGALORE, INDIA – In December, IJM and our government partners welcomed the conviction of an Indian trafficker who trapped five young women in forced labour at a construction site in 2013. He has been sentenced to 7 years in prison for his crimes.

This man had recruited the five women—who were between 19 and 21 years old—from their home state of Chhattisgarh, nearly 700 miles away. He promised them good jobs with a steady income, but instead trapped them at a construction site in a suburb north of Bangalore and forced them to work for nine months without proper food and under frequent physical abuse.

Law enforcement officers in Chhattisgarh heard about the abuse from the women’s families and worked closely with their counterparts in Bangalore to execute a rescue operation in August 2013 that brought these five women to safety. Investigations at related construction sites led to the rescue of 28 additional victims abused in similar ways.

Following the rescue, officials were able to charge the suspect under a newly passed addition to India’s Penal Code: Section 370, which in May 2013 added stronger language and penalties for human trafficking than in the past.

As the case prepared for trial, one local leader who had been trained by IJM on this new law invited our team to support public prosecutors. Since then, we have been collaborating to ensure this brutal trafficker was held accountable.

The trial was not without its challenges: The women rescued in this case returned safely back to their home community, but lost contact with authorities during the lengthy trial and were not able to testify.

Still, the testimony of local authorities remained strong, and the court in Bangalore was able to convict the 28-year-old trafficker on December 12, 2019. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison and a fine, and he was taken into custody on the same day.

IJM Bangalore’s Director of Operations Indrajeet Pawar shares, “In our experience over the last two decades, there have been very few convictions for trafficking and forced labour crimes. In light of this fact—and in the absence of the victims’ testimony—it is rare and remarkable to receive this conviction. It could set a precedent for courts to convict the accused solely on strong corroborative evidence given by officials involved in the case.”

He adds, “This gives us a ray of hope that the victims’ rights are safeguarded by the state, even in their physical absence during trial.”

Read more about IJM's work in this region

Read about IJM's recent rescue: our largest ever joint rescue with 204 rescued in a single day

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