It took nearly an hour of pounding on walls and listening for sounds before police and O.U.R. representatives could locate the 14 young women hidden in the small spaces between the walls of a building in Thane, India. Two of the enslaved women were minors.
A criminal informant working with the Indian Rescue Mission, which O.U.R. is supporting, alerted police to the women who were forced to dance in the bar and work as prostitutes.
A team of twenty police officers and IRM operatives took part in the raid. Some went undercover to catch the pimp, while others liberated the women from their prison. The pimp was a 24 year-old Indian woman. She was arrested in the raid along with the bar owners.
Fourteen women were held inside the hidden wall. There was a high-tech trap door operated by remote control. It was the only way for the women to get in and out.
The largest hidden room was four feet wide and 30 feet long. The smallest was just four feet wide and 10 feet long. There were no beds, no toilets, nothing. Just a filthy, hard concrete floor. The police found bottles of water inside and clothes the women would wear when they danced.
The minors were taken to a government-run shelter where they are receiving help. O.U.R. is following up with their care as well as that of the remaining 12 women. They are in need of medical assistance as well as emotional support and rehabilitation.
Organizations like IRM are on the front lines, fighting and preventing human trafficking each day. O.U.R. supports them on a monthly basis which is a cost-efficient way for O.U.R. to operate in some countries. (written by guest writer Erin Ann McBride)