13-year-old Puja* is from the 24 South Parganas district of West Bengal. A few months ago, Puja ran away from home because of abuse from her stepfather. A classmate lured her into dancing by creating a deceptive picture of financial independence and freedom. Puja was then trafficked to a “dance orchestra” in Raxaul, Bihar. Dance orchestras are known to operate as agents of commercial sexual exploitation to supply minor and adult dancers to customers for sexual purposes.
The dance orchestra owner confined Puja, along with other girls, in a room and they were only allowed out when the dance troupe was required to perform. A missing person complaint was filed by Puja’s family. The West Bengal police traced Puja to Raxual and approached JVI for assistance in the intervention. West Bengal Police personnel travelled to Raxaul and rescued Puja in coordination with the Bihar Police and JVI partner staff.
Puja was placed in an aftercare home for minor girls. The aftercare team is working with her to provide support and counseling. She is now in the process of understanding and sharing details about the nature of her abuse gradually. She will be provided continued legal and aftercare support while JVI works to ensure the trafficker is prosecuted.
*name changed to protect confidentiality