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Stuck in the muck: How foreign women rescued from prostitution in Pune struggle to break free

According to sources, it takes around two to three months for those rescued during the raids at prostitution rackets, to return to their country.

pune Updated: Sep 24, 2017 16:45 IST
Shalaka Shinde
Shalaka Shinde
Hindustan Times, Pune
Shelter home of The Rescue Foundation.(HT PHOTO)

On Tuesday, three women were rescued from a prostitution racket during a raid at a five-star hotel in Pune. Of the three women, one was from Russia, another from Uzbekistan and the third from Delhi, according to the Social Security Cell of Pune police. Five men were arrested under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA) by the Social Security Cell.

While officials are still investigating whether the women were forced into flesh trade, HT found that the woes of those rescued did not end with the police operation.According to sources, it takes around two to three months for those rescued during the raids at prostitution rackets, to return to their country.

The struggle to go back to their native place begins right after being rescued. The procedures that happen between the rescue operation and them reaching their home country lasts for at least two-three months. The rescued women are sent to either of the two rescue homes in the city; The Rescue Foundation's home in Mohammedwadi, Hadapsar or the government-run rescue home for women in Mundhwa, according to one of the counsellors at the Mohammedwadi centre. The Rescue Foundation is a government-aided non governmental organisation (NGO), which receives monthly expenses for every woman they take care of, according to an official at the Social Security Cell.

“Once rescued, the women are produced at the court and sent to a rescue centre, after which, they undergo medical tests at Sassoon Hospital in Pune. They are tested for HIV, STDs and skin diseases. Once that is completed, a request to acquire travel documents and permits for them is forwarded to the concerned embassy by the police,” said police inspector Sanjay Patil of the Social Security Cell.

The ministry of external affairs and Home ministry, along with concerned government authorities, help the women acquire the travel permits and their journey to the respective airport , Delhi or Mumbai, is facilitated by the organisation.

The Rescue Foundation's rescue home, inaugurated in 2009, is now home to 47 such women. "We have women from Russia, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Thailand, Bangladesh, Karnataka, Delhi, Mumbai and other places," said the counsellor. When asked if there is a gap in communication due to the language difference among the women, the counsellor said that the Indians try to communicate in Hindi while the foreigners try to speak in English.

"They have no trouble. There's meat and fish cooked according to everyone's liking. They have all the basic amenities. We don't face any problems from them," mentioned the security guard posted outside the gates of the organisation. The tall gates remain locked from inside at all times and three layers of barbed wire protect the space above the gates. In October last year, cases of rescued women escaping the facility were reportedly widely.

First Published: Sep 24, 2017 16:44 IST