Two women from Turkmenistan, who had been stranded in India due to the lockdown, were able to return to their country on Sunday following the Bombay High Court’s intervention.
The two women, who had come to India on student visas and were enrolled in a Pune college, had approached the court after being rescued during an anti-human trafficking raid at a hotel in February. They were lodged at a shelter home in Mumbai’s Kandivili for over 200 days.
While the magistrate had allowed them to return to their country in February, their departure was delayed due to incomplete documentation and after the lockdown, due to the non-availability of flights.
After the students informed the court recently that there was a flight available for them via Germany, the HC directed the authorities to expedite the procedure and allow them to return home.
Justice C V Bhadang on August 28 heard a writ plea filed by the two students seeking repatriation. Advocate Sujit Pathak, appearing for the women, told the court that the two petitioners had enrolled in a Pune college in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Being from the same country, they knew each other and resided together in a rented room in Pune.
In January, this year, they received a call from someone close to their friend, inviting them to Mumbai. The students met the caller in a hotel. However, a social service branch of the Mumbai Police raided the hotel and rescued the two students along with an Indian woman, said Pathak. They realised that the caller had tried to entrap them in a prostitution racket after they were produced before the magistrate court, he added.
Thereafter, the women were handed over to Save the Child India and Rescue Foundation, NGOs working for rehabilitating women rescued from human trafficking rackets, and kept at a shelter in Kandivali.
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