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Cops finally lodge FIR in trafficking case

PUBLISHED IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

RAIPUR: Taking cognizance of notice issued by National Commission for Scheduled Tribes to Chhattisgarh police for delay in lodging FIR and furnishing details, Bijapur police in Bastar finally lodged FIR and arrested three persons, weeks after rescue of Bijapur tribal girl, who was trafficked as minor to Delhi. TOI had prominently raised the issue soon after which notice was issued where no action was taken against the employers, who had put the girl in confinement at Autromline in New Delhi.

Talking to TOI, Bijapur SP KL Dhruve said that a team of police personnel now plan to arrest the employers from Delhi soon after roads would open with end of Maoists’ martyrs week on August 3.

Delhi-based NGO Shakti Vahini had also complained against the cops for not registering case of bonded labour, illegal confinement, forced labour and violation of provision of SC/ST Act 1989, despite the girl’s statement.

SP said that on June 27, FIR was lodged against employer Subhash Sharma, trafficker Vijay Lakda and his two aides in placement agencies in Delhi and a manhunt was launched. He explained that as the girl’s parents had died, police waited for her legal guardians to file FIR. Accused Vijay Lakda was arrested recently under Section 363, 370, 368 of the IPC, Section 17 of Bonded Labour Act and Section 9 (1), (2) of Chhattisgarh private placement agencies Act, 2013. Subsequently, Vijay Kullu of placement agency in Delhi who hailed from Odisha, along with Sebastian alias Buddhu from Odisha were also arrested.

However, FIR against Subhash Sharma and wife, who had kept the 16-year-old girl in confinement for more than seven years, was also lodged.

SP said that while interrogating Lakda, it was found that traffickers like Lakda identify minor girls and boys who are poor and have weak family background and lure them to work in Delhi. Most of them never return, but Leela, as she grew, she realised it was confined life she was leading, and alerted a neighbour.

Meanwhile, officer on duty, CID child cell said that request has been sent to department of women and child to pay relief compensation to Leela of Rs 20,000.

Bastar has lately been emerging as hub of child trafficking from where children are enslaved not only for domestic work in metro cities but also forced into child labour in chilly picking, thread weaving, brick kiln and poultry farming in places including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Goa.

About 552 children were reported missing in last three years of which Jagdalpur, Kanker, Bastar, Kondagaon, Dantewada and Narayanpur are among most affected regions. However, data maintained by Anti-Human Trafficking Unit shows 159 children trafficked in Bastar division.

According to police records, at least 79 children were rescued following a tip off in November 2014 from an egg factory in Tamil Nadu. Children were enslaved for picking eggs and were abused during night by senior contractors. In 2014, more than 300 children were rescued from factories in Goa, Bangalore in Karnataka, Badrachalam in Telangana, Erode, Namakkal in Tamil Nadu, Renukoot in Uttar Pradesh and Goa.

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