The Delhi Police’s idea of putting up pictures of trafficked and missing girls on a notice board hanging outside the police post on GB Road has proved to be a dud as policemen posted there say that no one has ever come to them with information on any of these girls.
The idea was brought in by the last Deputy Commissioner of Police Central District Devesh Srivastva about a year ago. “If a person going inside any of the brothels spots a girl whose picture is displayed on this board, he can immediately inform us and we can rescue the girl,” said a police officer explaining the idea behind the notice board, adding that they have not received any help from this so far.
A constable posted at the police post said: “I have been posted here for the last six months and never has a single person come to the police booth with any information about the girls whose pictures are displayed here.”
Another one added, “People keep coming here to stick pictures of the women who have gone missing but we have not received any clue on a missing woman through this notice board.”
While senior police officers refused to comment on the utility of this idea, some social activists slammed it saying it was destined to fail.
“As soon as a person puts up a picture of a missing girl on a notice board, the information reaches the brothel where the girl is kept and the brothel owners either hide the girl or send her somewhere in Meerut or Agra for sometime, so that there is no possibility of people tracing them there,” said Rishi Kant, who works for rescuing trafficked girls.
Another reason because of which the plan failed was that most of the people who come to GB Road are either those who come looking for a brothel or businessmen who come for work at the hardware market below. “Neither are interested in looking at the pictures of these girls,” quipped a police officer.
According to the data gathered by an NGO working in the field of trafficking, almost 600 girls were trafficked to Delhi in the last two year and 60 to 70 per cent of them were brought to GB Road. However, the number of girls rescued out of them is miniscule.
Right outside the Kamla Market police post on Shraddhanand Marg is a board which displays photographs of women who are missing. They are mostly young girls for whom the police of various States have ostensibly been searching.
The road, infamous as the red light area of Delhi, is pockmarked with buildings which house brothels where many such girls land up. However, hardly ever has a real effort been made to search for them and set them free. Hundreds of girls live there in abhorrent and inhuman conditions, only to be forced to entertain dozens of customers each day. They remain the main source of revenue for their malik , malkin and pimps and are treated no better than pieces of flesh.
‘No one found’
“It is the police from other States which normally provides us with the photographs of the girls who have gone missing and who they suspect could have landed up in the brothels here,” said a beat constable at the post. “But I don’t recall any of these girls ever being found through these photographs, as no one comes to see them.”
The cop insisted that in the years he has been in the area he has only seen subservience from the sex workers towards the kotha owners. “They seldom speak up against them. The main problem the police face here is from the customers, who mostly come drunk, and the pimps as they often pick fights.”
In fact, just last year a beat constable, Vijender, was knifed to death in the area by some customers when he tried to prevent them from attacking a person. As a precaution now, when the constables step out for patrolling duty around G.B. Road they mostly do so in pairs or in groups.
The policeman said the girls rarely complain about being held captive.“It is the NGOs who normally come up with the complaints and then raids are conducted. During raids, we do not face any problem from the brothel owners.”
While the flesh trade taking place in the area is well-known, the Delhi Police confines itself to mere maintenance of law and order and does not interfere in the functioning of the kothas . But while the kotha owners appear to have bought peace with the police, the fact that only about 2,600 of the nearly 3,500 sex workers in the area are registered with health workers speaks volumes about how these women are kept confined and away from the eyes of the law.