The spring sun rises over an Indian village. The sun bakes the slab of a rural highway running through the village.
Hot black wheels of motorcycles, mopeds, vans, and trucks spin by, moving their respective ways. Some wheels bulge heavy with loads of goods to sell, some spin their way to daily errands in the village. Some sets of wheels are starting their morning alongside the rest, but they move on the hot pavement, shipping trapped women from secret locations in the village to a brothel by the highway.
This morning, these wheels commute to a day of forced sex work.
Four Indian women, separated from their family one week prior, were trapped in this brothel. They fell into the hands of a trusted family friend who tricked them, then trafficked them into slavery. Traffickers work in this rural brothel — some as staff, one as the manager.
This spring morning is a morning interrupted. As the brothel manager scoops in his cash from a myriad of customers entering his business, he doesn’t know that an investigator posing as a buyer hands over money, then walks up to the second floor, an unwilling woman drawn into the room behind him.
Moments later, fifteen Indian officers flood this brothel. It’s chaos.
The police arrest five customers and three traffickers. The arrested traffickers beg with bribes, and a retired police officer comes to their defense, requesting the traffickers’ release. All to no avail: these men await their fate in jail.
The four women are free now from an indefinite future as forced sex slaves, and fewer wheels spin on the hot pavement toward the brothel by the highway.
*Names and photos are representational.