The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Orphan teen saved from traffickers

The police rescued a 14-year-old orphan, Asma, from a gang of suspected child-traffickers on Saturday evening near Nehru Children’s Museum, on Jawaharlal Nehru Road. They brought her to Shakespeare Sarani police station and on Sunday morning, she was accompanied by a police team to her Kakdwip village. After reaching there late in the evening, the police team was helped by its Kakdwip counterpart in locating Asma’s mud hut. She was handed over to her grandparents.

Officer-in-charge (OC) of Shakespeare Sarani police station Subrata Ghosh said an anti-crime patrol jeep spotted Asma, weeping on the footpath on AJC Bose Road. A few other girls and women were standing near her. “It was late in the evening and our officers, suspecting something amiss, pulled over near the group,’’ Ghosh said. On seeing the police jeep approach, the girls and women fled. Witnesses told the patrol that the girls had been waiting there for about 15 minutes.

“Initially, we thought she had lost her way in Calcutta. Asma could only mention that she had accompanied a middle-aged neighbour to the city,’’ Ghosh said. It was only after the police went to the village and questioned her neighbours that it found the woman was part of a child-trafficking racket.

“Asma could not name the woman but said she called her ‘Aunty’,’’ OC Ghosh added. Asma could not even provide any details of the woman’s antecedents. “She recalled that her ‘Aunty’ had brought her to the city on Saturday morning and they went sightseeing,’’ Ghosh said. In the evening, the woman brought Asma near the children’s museum. She told the girl she would be “back in a few minutes’’. In the meantime, some more girls and women gathered on the spot.

“It was a rendezvous, where other women brought girls from their areas and waited for another group to take them,’’ explained an officer of Shakespeare Sarani police station.

“We have collected some details about the woman and the racket during the course of investigations over the past two days,’’ Ghosh said. According to the investigations, the girls are taken to Delhi and Mumbai and sold in night clubs and brothels there. The detective department and state Criminal Investigation Department said they have rescued several girls from South and North 24-Parganas from Mumbai and Delhi brothels.

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