This past February, ten girls were rescued during Operation Barbarosa. What we didn’t know at the time was that this operation was just a small part of a larger narco-trafficking bust.
After the rescue and placement of the girls in an aftercare home, an assigned judge has 24 hours to determine if the girls were truly victims of trafficking and if it is a case that should be investigated. The judge assigned to this case is known to be very corrupt. He often tries to get all of the girls released from aftercare so they cannot share their stories in court.
This particular rescue happened on a weekend, so the corrupt judge was not able to release the girls immediately per the normal 24-hour rule. The traffickers paid the judge to try and cover up the story anyway. He tried everything in his power to have the girls released back to unsafe family situations or put out on the streets and even back to their traffickers, including calling the director of the aftercare home with death threats.
Luckily, this director of the home is an incredibly strong and passionate person, so he did not back down. In fact, he did everything he could to protect these girls. “No, I am not releasing these girls,” he said, “There is an investigation, and this is how it works.” This amazing man worked with the narco-trafficking and human trafficking unit to testify against this corrupt judge in court. We are still waiting to hear what will happen with the judge’s case, but we have hope that progress is being made. The aftercare director will not back down. He hired two armed, government guards to stand outside his aftercare home.
“We will fight for these girls so that they can be free from exploitation and have the quality future they dream of,” he said.
Some of the girls over the age of 18 had to leave the aftercare home for a few months in the midst of this investigation, but that does not mean they don’t have access to the care they need. Our aftercare partners have in-home services and follow-up for these survivors that no judge could ever intercept. This work cannot be stopped! We, along with our aftercare partners, are providing positive intervention in these girls’ lives. Even in difficult situations such as this, our Aftercare Team will stand in support of these girls and their aftercare director.
What can YOU Do?
Operation Barbarosa resulted in the rescue of 10 girls. Jessica Mass relays a special message from one of the 13-year-old survivors HERE.
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