Berhampur, Dec. 11: Fourteen minor girls were rescued from a bus near MKCG Medical College and Hospital here today while they were allegedly being trafficked to Tamil Nadu.
Four women and two youths accompanying the girls were arrested and sent to judicial custody.
“We made the arrests after Childline, an NGO, rescued the girls and handed them over to us. It will be a lesson for other racketeers. Transporting minor girls from one state to another without any valid documents is an offence,” said inspector in charge of B.N. Pur police station Deepak Mishra.
A case has been registered against them under sections 363, 365, 374 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.
The girls, aged between 16 and 18 years, belong to different villages of Ganjam district. They had undergone training at a tailoring centre at Polsara block for a year. They said they had been assured jobs at a garment factory in Tirupur city of Tamil Nadu with a monthly salary of Rs 4,000.
They are now in the custody of Childline at Swarnamayee Nagar in Berhampur.
However, one of the girls denied they were being trafficked saying her mother used to accompany her to Tamil Nadu. “We had worked for four months there and had come home for a fortnight. Today, we were supposed to go back but the police stopped us,” she said.
Police sources said the four women, two of whom were apparently former employees of the garment factory, had coaxed the girls to go to Tamil Nadu for work. As they were escorting them today, Childline volunteers stopped their bus outside MKCG hospital and questioned them about the girls.
“We suspected ill intention and found out that they were taking the girls without any valid documents or authorisation certificates from the tailoring centre where they apparently had been trained. So, we informed the police,” said a volunteer.
Last July, 37 minors from various villages in Gajapati district were rescued from two places in Tamil Nadu. While 18 children, between three and 10 years of age, were rescued from a church in Kanyakumari by Tamil Nadu police and reunited with their parents back home, another group of 19 children were freed from a children’s home in Coimbatore.