The Mumbai Crime Branch on Thursday arrested three people, including two women who traded off a 15-day-old girl to be sold into a flesh trade racket in the city.
Assistant police inspector Sharad Dharade with Unit IX received a tip-off that a minor girl was going to be sold to a flesh trade racket operator near Qureshi Nagar slum in Bandra. This is when a team led by police inspectors Mahesh Desai and Sunil Jadhav laid a trap and intercepted three suspects along with a 15-day-old girl in the afternoon.
Sharifa Pathan (50), and her brother Fazal (23) were the main pimps in this case. They were going to hand the girl over to the third accused, Afreen Khan (23), who stays in Govandi. All the three accused have been arrested and charged under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act, while the police are trying to track down the victim’s mother. The officer said,
We suspect Ms Khan has done this before and are conducting further inquiries to probe this aspect. All of her family members and friends are being questioned to find out who else is involved in the racket.
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The officer said the accused would be in touch with the expectant woman through a lady pimp and promise the victim’s mother money in exchange for her child. An advance payment would be made initially and then final payment once the child was sold.
In the present case, the mother was abandoned by her husband and living on the streets of Western suburbs in Mumbai. The accused paid Rs 5,000 and balance Rs 15,000 was supposed to be paid by them once the deal was struck for the just born. According to the trio, the child was born at BYL Hospital just a couple of weeks ago.
How Were They Nabbed
A lady constable posed as a potential buyer and struck a deal of Rs 50,000 with Fazal. When they reached the designated spot, police promptly nabbed the man and later both other accused women were picked up from their shanties.
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The officer said,
Girls are sold to pimps at a very young age and for the first seven to eight years, the pimps raise the girls in their houses while also making them do the housework. Once they reach a certain age, which is way below the legal age for prostitution, they are sold to the highest bidder, as virgins fetch a very high price in the flesh trade market.
The officer also said there is a psychological advantage to this method, as the victims grow up believing that the pimps are their parents, grow dependant on them for their basic needs, and hence don’t oppose them when they are sold. Adding further, the police said,
The pimps are also able to groom the victim right from their childhood, ensuring they get a fat payment when it is time to make the sale.
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In January this year, police busted a “high- profile” sex racket operating in a three-star hotel in suburban Andheri and arrested a 29-year-old woman, Priya Sharma, while rescuing three female artists, including a minor. The Social Service (SS) branch of the city police confirmed that the victims were found to have been forced into prostitution.
In 2016, the Crime Branch had busted a similar racket where girls were raised by women agents sold them into the dance bar circuit after they hit puberty.
#CrimeHasNoGender and law must treat all criminals without gender bias.
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