- (Photo: Reuters/Parth Sanyal)
Two teenage girls were rescued from a brothel in India after a Christian organization alerted police that the girls had been forced into sex slavery, the ASSIST News Service reported.
The India Rescue Mission (IRM) told local police that two girls named Roopa, 16, and Gowri, 17, were trapped in a prostitution ring in the city of Prune, located approximately 100 miles southeast of Mumbai. After police were told of the girls' presence, they raided the brothel and arrested its owner.
In the statement given by Gowri after the rescue operation, she said that she was tricked into coming to India from Bangladesh by being promised a job, which eventually led to her being forced into sex slavery.
"She was made to attend customers by force and if she denied them then she would be beaten. She was kept in captivity for four months," said James Varghese, the founder of the IRM.
In order to help the girls recuperate and readjust, the IRM plans on providing a shelter home for rehabilitation, as well as self-employment training, Varghese added.
The two girls' plight is an example of the grave problem of child prostitution facing India. According to the New York Times' Nick Kristof, there are 10 million children forced into prostitution around the world, with India having more than any other country. "The brothels of India are the slave plantations of the 21st century," Kristof wrote.
On top of being forced to serve anywhere from 10 to 25 customers a day, child prostitutes in India are also forced to breed, with their children being literally born into slavery: girls are brought up to be prostitutes and boys are brought up to be laborers.
One girl, Meena, who had been sold into sex slavery before she was old enough to menstruate, said that if she resisted her pimp's demands, she would be physically beaten, Kristof wrote.
"They beat me mercilessly, with a belt, sticks and iron rods,'' Meena said.
According to the IRM, there are more human slaves in the world today than at any other time in history, that modern day slavery is one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises.
Varghese started the IRM in order to "help provide a helping hand to the victims of forced prostitution and child labor and also to help rehabilitate them," he said in a separate article in he ASSIST News Service.
"I could no longer stand by and do nothing for these young exploited ones."