When two missing complaints were lodged in Koyyalagudem Police Station, Eluru,West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh nobody thought it will unravel a vicious network of traffickers who were luring hundreds of girls from all over the region in the name of jobs and selling them off to different red light areas in Mumbai and Pune.
Illa Anjayya’s daughter and another girl from the same village were promised jobs in a hostel in Hyderabad by one B Sayyama. When there was no news from his daughter for many days and no trace of Sayyamma,Anjayya lodged a missing complaint. In the meantime a relative of the other girl who was also taken reported that both the girls were actually taken to Mumbai and sold there for prostitution for a paltry sum of Rs 45,000/. The alert Inspector (who was trained on Anti Human Trafficking) of Koyyalagudem immediately registered a case. No sooner the case was registered the traffickers released both the girls who came back and related the untold miseries of many other girls from Andhra Pradesh who were enslaved in Mumbai red area. Two of the four traffickers were immediately arrested.
Sensing that a larger racket was involved Eluru range DIG Mr Mahesh Murlidhar Bhagwat,IPS and Mr Balakrishna, SP,West Godavari planned on a larger rescue operation. With the dynamic support of Addl DG Shri Sivanarayan and IG Shri S Umapathi who head the Anti Human Trafficking Unit in the state, Commisioner of Mumbai Shri Sivanandan was contacted who made all arrangements for the rescue operation in Mumbai with the support of IG,Admin Shri Venkateshan and DCP Sanjay Mahiti and DCP Shila Sahil.
Prajwala the nodal anti human trafficking organization for the state was involved right from the planning stages. Rescue Foundation a credible organization in Mumbai was contacted for all local support.
On 25th Nov 2009 a team of 7 police officers lead by Kovvur DSP Janaki Sharmila and supported by CI Rajeev Kumar, SI Srinivas, SI Shivaji, WPC Vijayashree,PC Durga Rao and PC Rafi left for Mumbai armed with search warrants. The AHTU represented by DSP Prakash Jadhav and SI Demulu and Prajwala team of six counselors lead by Ahmed Ali also joined the team in Mumbai.
On 27th Nov 2009 the Andhra team in collaboration with Maharashtra team(both police and NGO) rescued 19 girls from Dayananda Building,Pula St, Mumbai. Five Traffickers were also arrested.
As two girls belonged to West Bengal, Rescue Foundation our Mumbai NGO partner took care of these two girls. The Hon’ble Magistrate Ms Savita Chavan directed Prajwala to take care of further rehabilitation of victims.
Immediately after the rescue Prajwala provided a welcome kit consisting of two pairs of clothes, under garments, towel, blanket, toiletery( sanitary pads,tooth brush, paste, oil,comb etc) and cosmetics such as ponds cold cream/fair and lovely to each victim and arranged for a bus to transport back 17 victims to Andhra Pradesh.
Within 48hrs after being rescued the Dist Collector of West Godavari Ms Vani Prasad released an amount of Rs 10,000/victim as an immediate relief measure and assured the victims all support such as housing, ration card as a part of the rehabilitation package.
Rescue operations involving two states with such large numbers of victim could be only possible due to strong coordination and partnership between all stakeholders police, NGO’s, judiciary and district administration.
Today the victims are in Prajwala Shelter for further rehabilitation. For us in Prajwala, the challenge begins now!