In a heart-warming incident of a brother’s quest for his kidnapped sister, a few days before the country celebrates rakhi, a brother travelled all the way to New Delhi from West Bengal to rescue his sister from a brothel.
The 16-year-old girl, a student of class X, went missing since June from Haroa in North 24 Parganas district. The victim had reportedly been approached by another girl who asked for her number. A few days later, the victim began getting calls on her mobile phone from a man who wished to marry her.
On June 24, she was forcibly pulled into a car while she was on her way home from school and soon sent off to Delhi. The family lodged a complaint with the local police station on June 28. The victim, forced into prostitution, took the help of a kind-hearted customer and used his mobile phone to get in touch with her brother in Bengal.
“We were alerted by the child helpline and both the West Bengal and Delhi police departments conducted a raid earlier this month on a brothel in G.B. Road in Delhi, but it was a futile search,” said Rishi Kanth, an activist with NGO Shakti Vahini.
The NGO had assisted the West Bengal police in its rescue operation. The victim’s brother and brother-in-law went along with the police to Delhi. She was rescued after a second raid was conducted on August 6, Mr. Rishi Kant told The Hindu. The girl and her brother are on their way to their home in Bengal, he added.
Dispute over figures
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in her Budget speech earlier this year had said that there had been 597 cases of trafficking of women and children in 2013, as against 740 cases in 2012. As many as 301 persons were arrested and 214 victims were rescued, she had said. Disagreeing with the official figures, Mr. Rishi Kant said there had been no decrease in trafficking in Bengal.
“Girls are trafficked from Bengal for three primary reasons — to serve as sex workers in Delhi and other parts of north India, forced into marriages in Haryana and Punjab and to work as domestic workers in Delhi and other regions of north India. Most girls are trafficked from North and South 24 Parganas districts from West Bengal,” Mr. Rishi Kant said.
Shunning a stigma
However, shunning the stigma associated with trafficked girls, families of victims have been coming ahead to bring back their daughters and take them back to their homes, he added.