At Mumbai Smiles, almost every week a call to rescue a girl who is being sexually exploited in inhumane conditions is received. The girls are between 20 and 25 years old, but many are 16, 17 or 18. They are recruited, misled and sometimes even kidnapped by mafia networks, who take them to Mumbai, where they are forced into prostitution in outrageous conditions of slavery.
These women are forced to have sex with up to 11 clients a day, in rooms and spaces deprived of the most basic hygienic conditions, and live under constant threat from the pimps. They suffer abuse, verbal and physical violence, harassment, and often they resort to alcohol or similar substances as the only way to cope with their situation.
For the past year, Mumbai Smiles has a team dedicated to rescuing victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, in coordination with the local police and other agencies.
Such rescue operation, as synchronized and dangerous as it is, implies great expenses that must be faced: renting a van for each rescue, paying the venue where the girls work so that they act as if we were real clients, the salary of our staff, who always operate under strict anonymity, paying the informant who alerts us to where the victims are being held, and of course covering the initial costs of rehabilitation and care for the victims. In total, a rescue operation costs approximately 1,000 euros per person. The number of requests for rescues increases every week. And this happens in a city where there are an estimated 400,000 trafficked and sexually exploited women, of which 180,000 are minors.
Rescuing 20 trafficked and sexually exploited girls is in our hands. So far this year we have already rescued 10.
You can help 20 more girls survive the slavery of sexual exploitation and thereby achieve freedom and a life of dignity.