GET SET GO…
It was named Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Marg. If one stands on the main road during the daytime, one will see several commonplace shops lined along the side of the road, dealing in all kinds of metal scraps. At night however, the picture changes completely. Behind the closed doors of these metal shops, starts a different kind of commerce. The bodies of young women then become the objects to be sold at high rates.
Yes, this is a common sight at the G. B. Road in Delhi.The red-light area andhot spot for brothel owners and customers.
On one such night, when people had busied themselves in their nocturnal activities, two cars stopped in front of one of the shops. Three girls, one of them wearing a burqa, stepped out along with a man and four policemen dressed in casuals.
“Move! Move!” the order comes. They hurry up the narrow dingy staircases and repeatedly strike on the closed doors.
This is how the rescue operations take place. Sometimes in the dead of the night, sometimes in the early morning, and sometimes in the middle of the day in broad daylight.
The owner of the brothel is an elderly woman. The sudden raid has taken her by surprise. She tries to resist the rescue team herself, saying “ladki yahaan nahi hai!” but they undercut her and continue with their operation.
The girl in the burqa requests them to search every inch of the place. But the whole search is fruitless. The girl, whom they had come to rescue is not to be seen anywhere.
It was strange, for the girl in the veil was sure that they would find her there. She remembered her own past. She had herself been trafficked and brought to this hell.But luckily, she had been rescued. So she knew every corner of the place.Yet, it did not help, the girl could not be found. The rescue team had to return for the day, empty-handed.
Such failures are a part of their job. But we all know that failures are the pillars upon which success is built. It cannot curb their hunger to do good to the society.
STOP is one such NGO that works to eradicate trafficking and oppression of women. President of the STOP, Prof. Roma Debabrata said, “When we see that a girl could not be rescued, it feels bad. If we go and explore the cause behind these failures, the result will be an unearthing of such truths that are hard to believe.”
These truths are lethal enough to take away lives. But taking life does not mean physical death, not an end to all sufferings. It is rathera continuous and an unequal fight of an inexperienced young woman for life, wherein she is repeatedly fed uponby scavengers garbed as human beings. And the most unacceptable truth is that political leaders and policemen often form a part of the deceivers. There are also their informers, ever-ready to notify when the brothels might be raided. So, this perpetually rotating wheel of death does, at times,seem equally powerful and indestructible as the Sudarshan Chakra.
One such instance is the Kamala Market Police Station in Delhi, situated close to G. B. Road. Rescuing trafficked girls from the whore-house would not have been so difficult, had the police cooperated. A part of the police has a nexus with the brothel-owners, who pay them regularly. It was learnt that once there was a lady station house officer, who was removed from her post because she was trying to break this unholy nexus. It was heard that some of the influential officers of the upper strata and some police officials had forced her transfer.
After the previous failure, the rescue team decided to raid the same area once again. But this time, they ascertained that the police are not informed beforehand. They took two constables from the local police station with them, just before the raid.
They climb the same flights of stairs and search the same crooks and bends. But the result is still a zero. If she is really not here, then is it possible that she has already been traded to Dubai or Nepal? Will they have to return empty-handed once more?
“Stop”, one of them said. He was staring fixedly at a wall. It looked absolutely incongruouswith the rest of the room. It seemed to have been plastered only recently. But why?
The wall was cracked with a hammer. A muffled noise could be heard which was coming from within; the sound of someone moaning. One of them put his hand through the crack in the wall. It brushed against something. What is it? The wall was further hammered down, and there she was! Her hands and feet were tied up and her mouth sealed with a tape.
Once she was pulled out, an underground passage came into sight. It led to a flight of stairs, leading down to another large room. The next thing that they noticed was trunks. Arranged across the room in rows were several trunks. What did they contain? More girls!
This is how the brothel owners hide away the newly brought girls, the moment theyare informed about a raid.
Many girls were saved that day, and many of the offenders were put behind the bars. But the question remains that if an NGO could do this task, why could the police not do it? After all it is their job. But it is an open secret that a section of the police gets paid regularly by them. The fact is known even to the higher police officials. But there is no action against them. How can this cancer be eradicated?
However, not all are of the same kind. There are also sincere policemen. One of them said, “The government does not take any initiative. Why should we pay from our pockets? Does anyone work for humanity anymore?”
Take for instance, police was interrogating one of the pimps using assault tactic. A phone call came, the identity of the caller was not known. But that man had to be freed.
Such is the power of the ‘Netaji’s. A single phone call can save the traffickers!
There is a clear nexus between the traffickers and the political parties, though there is not enough evidence to prove the same. But as the Police puts it, ‘it’s like an open secret…’. Till date no one has shown the courage to uproot it.
On the other hand, the NGOs like Shakti Vahini belong to the diametrically opposite pole. No matter what hurdles block their way, these people march forward, keeping in mind their motto of completely eradicating trafficking and establishing an egalitarian society. Any kind of retreat will prove to be a defeat to the holy cause. So, neither life threats, nor hefty bribes can tempt them away from their noble path.
Thus, these torchbearers, supported by the some enthusiasts and immense courage, continue to show light to the helpless victims of heinous crimes because, they believe that darkness cannot be the end; there’s got to be light.