An Indian man named Adarsh Shrivastava was travelling by train earlier this month, when he saw something that made him uncomfortable.
On July 5, he spotted 26 young girls, aged between 10 and 14, appearing unusually nervous and restless. Shrivastava sensed that the group were in trouble.
Unsure of what to do, Shrivastava tweeted his concerns: “I am traveling in Avadh express (19040). in s5. in my coach their are 25 girls all are juvenile some of them are crying and all feeling unsecure [sic].”
He tagged railway authorities and officials, alerting them to the situation. Moments later he followed up the tweet by adding, “… subject to human trafficking… my current station is Hary Nagar my next station is BAGAHA and then Gorakhpur. Kindly help them out. Please help.”
I am traveling in Avadh express(19040). in s5. in my coach their are 25 girls all are juvenile some of them are crying and all feeling unsecure.@RailMinIndia @PiyushGoyal @PMOIndia @PiyushGoyalOffc @narendramodi @manojsinhabjp @yogi
— Adarsh Shrivastava (@AdarshS74227065) July 5, 2018Advertisement
subject to human trafficking )my current station is Hari Nagar my next station is BAGAHA and then Gorakhpur.kindly help them out. Please help.@RailMinIndia @PiyushGoyal @PiyushGoyalOffc @PMOIndia @narendramodi @rajnathsingh
— Adarsh Shrivastava (@AdarshS74227065) July 5, 2018
His messages were retweeted by the Ministry of Railways, who alerted local authorities to the situation.
Approximately an hour later, plainclothes police officers entered the train – confident of what they were investigating. They found the 26 girls accompanied by two men, both of whom were arrested. According to the Press Trust of India, all of the girls were taken into custody and questioned about where they came from.
Allegedly, the girls did not provide police with information about where their place of origin, but it was later discovered they had travelled from West Champaran in Bihar, located in northeast India.
The reason Shrivastava had been alarmed was simple. Although human trafficking is illegal in India, it remains a significant problem, with at least 20,000 women and children being trafficked in 2016.
A mum’s human trafficking warning goes viral. Post continues.
People who are subject to human trafficking are exploited for sexual services, forced marriage or forced labour.
Many women and girls from neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh are trafficked into India for the same purposes.
This comes after Katarina Idegard, the person in charge of addressing honour-based violence in Sweden, instructed girls to “hide a spoon inside [their] underwear,” if they are being transported somewhere against their will.
With many women and girls being taken abroad and forced into marriage, Idegard says slipping a spoon into their underwear will trigger metal detectors at the airport, which will result in the individual being taken aside and spoken to by a staff member in private.
The same advice has been issued in the UK.
“It is a last chance to sound the alarm,” she said.
According to the Press Trust of India, these girls were in the process of being trafficked, though it is unclear what exactly their fate looked like.
Shrivastava has been praised widely on social media, and has just one simple response: “Thanks, but as a sitizen [sic] of India it’s our responsibility to help people.”