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Suniel Shetty Rescued 128 Women From Sex Trafficking In 1996; Actor Says ‘We Didn’t Think About …’

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Anna of Bollywood, Suniel Shetty is not just a reel hero, the Lakeer actor is a saviour in real life too. The actor saved hundreds of women from Nepal from human trafficking. Suniel arranged for their flight back to their home country with the help of police, social workers and his mother-in-law.

In an old video of Vice, Charimaya Tamang, the founder of Shakti Samuha, an organisation that helps survivors of sex trafficking, talked about how she was trafficked from her village in 1996 and was rescued with the help of ‘Indian hero’ Suniel Shetty.

She said in the video, “On February 5, 1996, the whole of Kamathipura, the brothel area, had been cordoned off by police and social workers. They got us out of there. This is how we were rescued. After being rescued, our government (Nepal) refused to bring us back. They said we didn’t have our birth certificates or citizenship cards. That is when your film hero, Suneil Shetty supported us. He got plane tickets to Kathmandu for 128 women who had been rescued.”

Remembering the incident, Suniel Shetty had said that a film can be made on the incident. He also refused to take the entire credit for arranging the return of 128 women and said a lot of people worked really hard on the project.

While talking to Bollywood Hungama about the same, Suniel said, “We didn’t really think about the price of flight tickets. The cost was not that important. It was the effort that counted. My mother-in-law started the Save The Children NGO and it’s active even today. All of us are involved in it. The inspiration comes from her. She was the one who decided to take the risk of rescuing the girls and thereby getting into the bad books of the mafia.”

The Kyon Ki actor worked “passionately” with her along with Mumbai Police and Naresh Goyal’s Jet Airways.

The Main Hoon Na actor assumed that the women who were rescued probably remembered his name “because I am an actor.” He said, “Lekin mehnat bahut saare logon ki thi. Paiso se zyada humne jigar dikhaya ki in bachchiyon ki madat karenge aur itni bade mafia se takkar lenge. (But a lot of people worked hard. More than money, all of us showed courage to help these women and get in the bad books of the mafia).”

While the incident didn’t get anyone’s attention till yet, the actor shared it was deliberately not disclosed. Suniel explained that the incident never got any attention in the media because everyone involved in the rescue operation prioritised the safety of the rescued girls. He shared, “Firstly, we didn’t want to glorify ourselves. It was not right as these girls were involved. Secondly, yeh aisi gandi mafia hai ki kabhi chodti nahi hai. Jitne low profile mein operation hone ki zarurat thi, waise hi hua (The operation took place in a low-profile manner). Hence, nobody even knew about this incident.”

Today, all of those 128 survivors have a fair shot at life, of which Charimaya Tamang is already running an NGO based in Nepal started by the survivors of the 1996 incident, working to fight sex trafficking and towards the rehabilitation of the survivors.

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