On April 7th, 2019 JVI rescued mothers Soniya* and Janna* in Kathmandu, Nepal from sex trafficking. Both mothers were being trafficked by a brothel Madam and their young daughters were at high risk for future exploitation.
The rescue investigation originally started in the red-light area of Sonagachi in Kolkata where Soniya was working. While there, she heard about one of JVI’s aftercare partners and their work of helping women escape sex trafficking. She approached them for help. They did their best to help her leave, however, her fears for her own safety would often get the best of her and prevent her from following through. Soniya had a long history of abuse. She had been trafficked for years with multiple families in Lebanon, Kuwait and Dubai for domestic servitude.
In January of 2019, JVI was contacted about Soniya by the partner to request assistance to rescue her. Through regular text messaging, JVI and partner continued to counsel Soniya to leave the red-light area. In the meantime, they began planning a rescue intervention.
In March 2019, Soniya informed JVI that she was in Kathmandu, Nepal and she had reconnected with her daughter, who had been left behind at age nine. Soniya mentioned that she was not traveling alone but was accompanied by her brothel Madam. Soniya informed that they were traveling via bus and were staying at the brothel Madam’s house in the outskirts of Kathmandu.
JVI immediately coordinated with two additional partners in Nepal to do surveillance at the location address provided by Soniya. While the partner organizations were ready to take action, Soniya was being unresponsive and kept disconnecting the phone even as attempts to get in touch with her were continuously made. After a few days, JVI heard back from Soniya who said that she had her daughter with her and would return to Kathmandu in two days to meet with the JVI staff.
On April 5th 2019, Soniya agreed to meet JVI in an area called Chahibil located in Thamel of Kathmandu. However, when JVI’s staff tried to contact her over the phone she again became unresponsive. At the time JVI did not realize it, but Soniya later explained, that when she was unresponsive to take the phone calls it was either because she was with her brothel Madam or was staying at the Madam’s husband house where she was constantly being watched and her movements were monitored.
The next day, during a surveillance meeting in the target area, Soniya was spotted walking on the streets with her young daughter and the brothel Madam. On April 7th, 2019 Soniya contacted the JVI staff and again agreed to meet in Chahibil. Soniya communicated her fears that the Madam and her husband would traffic her daughter if she did not protect her. She told her brothel Madam she was meeting a customer and instead the meeting with JVI staff finally took place.
At the meeting, Soniya shared that her friend Janna was also in the same predicament and was looking for a safe place for her own daughter. JVI immediately begin assisting both mothers with a plan to secure safe housing. JVI secured placement into a residential and work program for Soniya and Janna, while assisting their daughters with enrollment into a partnering aftercare program for children that has an onsite school.
JVI and partners are currently working with Soniya, Janna to ensure they continue on the path to healing and recovery. The intervention provided these two young girls a new trajectory by preventing them from becoming victims of human trafficking.
Both mothers are so thankful that their daughters now have this opportunity, which could change future generations.
*names changed to protect privacy