16 year old Sadaf* left her house telling her parents she was going to a school Independence Day celebration, but never came back. Her parents are poor and uneducated and felt there was nothing they could do to search for her.
Sadaf’s class mate, who had attended an Operation Red Alert (ORA) Safe Village Program (SVP), noticed she had gone missing. She suspected that Sadaf may have been lured to run away with a boy she had been speaking to on the phone. She had learned in the SVP that this is how traffickers often trick girls. Remembering her SVP training, she went to the local village Community Vigilance Committee (CVC).
The CVC activated the ORA Implementing Partner** (IP) to take up the case. The IP helped the family file an First Information Report (FIR) at their local police station, which caused the whole village to learn about Sadaf’s disappearance. Once the case became news, a local political party started to pressure Sadaf’s parents to withdraw the case.
It is “well known” among the village and local NGOs that this political party is involved in a trafficking ring, which is one reason Sadaf’s parents felt helpless to work with the police. However, NGOs have lacked hard evidence of victim testimony to push for arrests and prosecutions. The IP counseled the family not to give into pressure, and told them that if they withdrew the case, there would be no follow up from police to find their daughter.
After just a few days, Sadaf called her parents to say that she had been taken to Bangalore, and would return in 6 months. With the phone number and location in hand, the IP planned to activate the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit to plan a rescue. However, this news reached Sadaf’s trafficker, and caused him to send her back to her village. Once home, Sadaf said that the man had lured her with the promise of marriage and a better life, and once she arrived in Bangalore, he locked her up in a room with a plan to keep her there until he could sell her.
Sadaf’s trafficker has not yet been arrested. Our implementing partner is working to put together enough evidence to arrest the trafficker, and implicate the local political party for helping run a local trafficking operation. Sadaf is safe, and under the protection of the the IP and her parents, who are now aware of the local traffickers’ methods to lure girls.
This blog is part of a series sharing from our Impact Report. Read the full report by clicking the button below
*Victim names changed, and no identifying information used.
**This Operation Red Alert implementing partner’s identity must remain anonymous due to ongoing casework