December 8, 2016 (original story posted October 27, 2016)
At the end of October, IJM celebrated justice served for three young survivors of trafficking, as the women who sold them into the sex trade were at last found guilty after a complex seven-year legal trial.
This judgment was hindered again and again over the years after several judges were transferred and the traffickers’ attorneys used many tactics to delay the trial. The survivors and other witnesses were asked to repeat their testimonies many times, but remained faithful to seeing justice served.
The three women were finally sentenced to seven years imprisonment and will pay a significant fine, which will be divided amongst the victims to aid in their continuing recovery.
One IJM attorney says joyfully, “This case has proved that patience is rewarded. Despite the seven-year wait, the victory for the victims has come through. It is a sign of hope that, irrespective of the numerous adjournments, witnesses testified and the Court has ensured justice was done.”
Today, IJM Mumbai has helped to rescue hundreds of girls and young women from sex trafficking, and has assisted in the conviction of 97 criminals for trafficking crimes.
Survivors like Riya* are Thriving Today
One of the survivors in this case, Riya,* was only 14 years old when she met these women in 2009. She had been struggling to support her family, so the women promised they could find her a stable job with good money and solve her family’s troubles.
That evening, the women dressed Riya up in a saree and drove her around the city making hushed phone calls and deals. They brought Riya into a roadside restaurant and lodge, where she saw two other scared young girls—and learned that she had been sold for sex.
Within minutes of the final transaction, Mumbai police and IJM staff entered the small room and arrested the pimp and the traffickers. They had been monitoring these pimps for some time and finally busted their sex trafficking ring.
From there, Riya and another young victim moved to a local shelter and then to a long-term aftercare home where they could focus on their counseling and education.
In 2010, Riya proudly completed school and then an apprenticeship at India’s leading shipyard in Mumbai, finishing with first-class distinction. Today, she’s excitedly waiting to interview for a permanent position, while she enjoys spending time with her friends and hanging out along Mumbai’s waterfront in the evenings.
*A pseudonym has been used for the protection of this survivor.
International Justice Mission protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors and strengthen justice systems. Our team has helped local officials combat sex trafficking in Mumbai since 2000, and together we’ve brought hundreds of girls and young women to freedom.
This Christmas, help us rescue and defend more girls like Riya by becoming a Freedom Partner.