The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Minor girls freed from brothel

Siliguri, Oct. 28: Police rescued two minor girls from a brothel in the red light area of the town yesterday evening, following a tip-off from members of a local NGO.

The girls, aged 14 and 15, hail from Karala Valley Tea Estate in Jalpaiguri. A Siliguri police team swooped in on the brothel in Khalpara late in the evening and brought them out. They spent last night in the women’s cell at the Siliguri police station.

This evening, the girls were handed over to Jalpaiguri police.

Prabhat Chakraborty, the inspector-in-charge of the Siliguri police station, said a tribal couple had allegedly lured the girls away with promise of good jobs in Darjeeling district around three weeks ago.

“A missing person’s diary was lodged with the Kotwali police station in Jalpaiguri on Friday,” said Chakraborty. “The complaint named the couple, who were close to both the families.”

The inspector, however, refused to divulge the names of the accused. He added that no arrests were made during yesterday’s raid in Khalpara because the police had received no complaints against anyone there.

Mrinal Ghosh of Child In Need Institute (CINI), a local NGO that had tipped off Siliguri police, said the girls had been at the brothel for a couple of weeks. The delay in filing the police complaint resulted from the fact that the families had not suspected any foul play when the girls were taken away.

The crucial hint, said Ghosh, came on Friday, when a customer at the brothel called up the girls’ neighbours at the tea garden, located 40km from here, and told them of the duo’s plight.

“He had probably got the phone number of the neighbours from the girls,” Ghosh added.

“After that, the residents of the garden contacted the Kotwali police station as well as Sudip Bhadra of Child Line, a Jalpaiguri-based NGO that works with such cases,” said Ghosh.

Bhadra in turn called up Ghosh.

“I immediately informed Indra Chakraborty, the deputy superintendent of police of Siliguri, and asked him to take necessary steps to rescue the minors. On the other hand, Jalpaiguri police, too, contacted their counterparts in Siliguri,” said Ghosh.

Karala Valley Tea Estate is one of the Dooars gardens and employs around 400 workers. The plantation is spread over 350 acres.

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