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Girls as young as 8 trafficked, forced into prostitution; Cops and Govt. officials part of ring in Arunachal Pradesh

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GUWAHATI, MAY 15: Multiple Government employees – including a Deputy Superintendent of Police and a Deputy Director in the Directorate of Health Services – are among 21 people arrested by Arunachal Pradesh in a crackdown against a child trafficking and prostitution ring operating in the State.
Five minor girls – one aged 10, one aged 12, and three aged 15 – have been rescued by police from three different locations in and around State capital Itanagar over the course of the past 10 days. All 5 girls had been trafficked to Itangar from villages in Assam. Two of them – the 10-year-old and the 12-year-old – had been trafficked to Itanagar when they were only 8 years old, police said.
Of the 21 who have been arrested so far, 10 are accused of trafficking the victims, soliciting customers and taking the victims to the customers. The other 11 are people who have been identified as ‘customers’ who allegedly sexually assaulted the victims. These include Buland Marik, a Deputy SP with the Arunachal police; Dr Senlar Ronya, a Deputy Director with the Directorate of Health Services; Toi Bagra, a Constable with the Arunachal police; Takam Langdip, an Assistant Engineer with the Public Works Department; and Michi Tabin, a Junior Engineer with the Rural Works Department.
The arrested accused are facing charges under Section 373 of the IPC which pertains to the buying of minors for prostitution, under the POCSO Act and the Immoral Trafficking Act.
Superintendent of Police, Capital police, Rohit Rajbir Singh said the parent Departments of the Government employees have been informed of the arrests.
“We had received information regarding a child trafficking-cum-prostitution ring on May 4. The initial information was that two minor girls were trafficked and brought from neighbouring States and they were being misused”, said Singh. Following raids in two locations and the rescue of 4 girls, Singh said that the police found that the child trafficking ring was being headed by two sisters – Pushpanjali Mili, based in Itanagar and running a beauty parlour there, and Purnima Mili, based in Guwahati. The two are originally from Assam’s Dhemaji district.
“From their own home district, they target impoverished homes and tell the parents of the girls that they can trust them and that they will offer a better quality of life. The girls were brought here in different years. One was brought in 2020, one in 2022… For one or two months, they are made to work in the parlour, but after that, they are pushed into prostitution. One of the victims was brought here in 2020, at that time she was 8 years old. After that she had even managed to escape, but she was brought back to be involved in the ring once again”, he said.
He said that the accused had created WhatsApp groups where they would share photos of the victims along with “rates”.
“There were a large number of people in these groups, but after the first set of arrests were made on May 4, people started leaving them and they were disbanded… The people arrested are those who have multiple evidence pointing towards them – financial transactions to the accused corresponding with “proposed rates”, locations traced to the residences of the accused or to two hotels we have in our radar, and so on”, he said.
After an initial round of 18 arrests and 4 rescues, police arrested another 3 people who own and manage a hotel in Chimpu, including a husband and wife duo – Dulal Basumatary and Dipali Basumatary – originally from Udalguri in Assam. A 15-year-old girl was rescued from them, and police said that she was from their native village and was being raised by the couple. She was allegedly pushed into prostitution by them once she reached adolescence, police said.
He said that the victims are currently in a child welfare home and receiving medical treatment, and that they will be receiving psychological counselling.
(Courtesy: IE)

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