For Rahima(name changed to protect identity) 17yrs,a first year auto mechanic polytechnic student brought up in a conservative muslim family in Bangladesh it was fun to slyly take her father's mobile phone and randomly speak to her friends. In one such occasion she picked a WhatsApp call from a stranger who said his name was Moajjem. Slowly a friendship developed and soon her friend was desperate to see her in person.
With a lot of difficulty Rahima went to meet Moajjem. She took her 3yr nephew Norba also with her to avoid any suspicion. Moajjem turned out to be everything that she imagined in a man far away from a conservative world. When Moajjem professed his love for her, she was ready to go to any extent to be with her man. Moajjem was very clear, staying in Bangladesh would pose a lot of difficulty from her family and that is why India would be the best destination to start a new life.
Rahima eloped with Moajjem locking her sister and nephew in room. She was happy to be with Moajjem who took care of her with so much love and passion. She could wear what she wanted, she could eat what she wanted and most importantly she could see the world. Although illegally crossing the border posed quite a few challenges but she noted with pride that her boyfriend seem to be having a lot of influence with both the Bangladesh and India border police. Throughout the journey Moajjem did not touch her and treated her with great respect.
Entering the Indian border and reaching Kolkatta was uneventful and from there they immediately boarded a train to Hyderabad. While Rahima was curious why they did not stop at Kolkatta itself as it looked more familiar, Moajjem convinced her that they need to get away as far as possible.
When they reached Hyderabad, Rahima was kept in a nice flat with all amenities.
After two days, Moajjem said he has to leave to Bangladesh to get some important documents, he also said he needs to take divorce from his wife. Rahima was shocked and started crying. Moajjem held her and forced her to have sex and then told her 'now you are mine I will never let you go'. Moajjem took her to his best friends a couple named Viplob @ Sohel and Bisti. Who welcomed her to their family! They promised to take care of her unti Moajjem came back.
One day, Shujan another friend of the couple who was visiting them casually mentioned that she could 'dance' and earn some great money as she has not completed her polytechnic. Bored and lonely Rahima agreed. For two months she danced in bars and pubs. Shujan, Viplob and Bishti will continuously show her how much money she is earning and assured her that they were keeping it in safe keeping till Moajjem came back. The way they took care of her was incredible. She was not even allowed to wash her own clothes and there were days that Bishti would personally feed her. Biryani and rich food was daily diet.
One day during dance, Shujan introduced her to Sai who tole her come with him for another dance. With Shujan's encouragement, Rahima went with Sai who took her to a room. After raping her, he kept her in captivity for 8 months. Taking her escorted to several places in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka Rahima was forced into prostitution. His 'so called' mother Vijaya was his main supporter.
Then the news came to Viplob that Rahima's parents had filed a missing complaint and Moajjem was arrested. Immediately Viplob negotiated with Sai and brought back Rahima. The story that Rahima was fed is that Viplob was searching for Rahima for 8 months and finally after forcing Shujan, he found her. He paid a huge price to get free!!!
When Bangladesh Police called Viplob he immediately made them speak to Rahima who was so grateful to Viplob for saving her and told the same to Police. She also told that she voluntarily came with Moajjem and they should immediately release him.
Informed by our Bangladesh Parter,Justice & Care who works very closely with the Bangladesh Police regarding the suspicious nature of the case I immediately passed on all the information to our own Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat. Rest is history, in 10 days & nights the girl was rescued. Sold and resold five times by Moajjem,Viplob/Bishti, Shujan,Sai and back to Viplob@Sohel/Bishti and violated by thousands of men, Rahima still thinks Viplob & Bishti are her well-wishers. Throughout the night after the rescue she kept repeating they are her relatives and they live in Kolkatta!!!
All the five traffickers, three Indians and three Bangladeshi have been arrested by Telangana Police and Bangladesh Police respectively. Perhaps a unique case where arrests have been made from the source to the destination in a international case.
A lot of reflections when I was dealing with the case:
-How we as parents are dealing with the emotional deficit that our children go through?
-Do we realize that this can happen to any of our dear & near ones and for months together while being exploited she may not even realize what is going on?
-That grooming and emotional manipulation is the main modus operandi in most cases of sex trafficking!