Six girls, allegedly trafficked from West Bengal, have been rescued from different parts of Delhi. The minors were made to work as domestic help.
Four alleged traffickers, including a man who ran a “placement agency” in Chirag Delhi area, have so far been arrested in the case, police said.
The girls, who hail from South 24-Parganas district, were rescued by a team of Delhi police and rights activists between Saturday and Sunday.
The arrests were made over the past week.
The man who ran the placement agency, SK Hasan Ali, has been identified as the mastermind of an alleged trafficking racket which has exploited many minors from West Bengal, said police and activists involved in the case.
One of his associates was arrested in West Bengal.
The accused have been charged with a series of offences, including sections 370 and 370A of the IPC, which deal with human trafficking.
“Ali has a network in Bengal. He would source minors mainly from South 24-Parganas district. His agency supplied ayahs, drivers and maids to homes in Delhi. He would pay commission to his agents for each girl,” said Virender Singh of Mission Mukti Foundation, a Delhi-based NGO that is helping the cops in the case.
The arrests were made during the course of an investigation into a complaint, filed by a man in Jibantala in Canning, alleging that his minor daughter was taken to Delhi by Ali, the alleged mastermind.
The complainant approached the police after she could not contact her daughter in Delhi. The complainant’s daughter was yet to be found, the police said.
The evidence collected so far in the probe — based on the “confessions” of the arrested persons and the raid on Ali’s office in Delhi — point towards a monetary trail, said an officer of Baruipur police.
Establishing the monetary trail is going to be the key to prosecuting the accused. Article 24 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to be protected from any “hazardous employment till the age of 14 years”.
The girls rescued from Delhi were aged between 12 and 17 years.
The employers of the rescued girls will be questioned on the basis of the statements recorded by the girls, said the police and rights activists involved in the case.
Apart from Mukti, Rescue Foundation and World Vision India also helped the West Bengal and Delhi police in the case.
“It is important to know if the employers were aware that the girls were sold for money. If they did not know, it would be very hard to have a case against them,” said a lawyer who specialises in trafficking cases.
An officer in the anti-human trafficking unit of Baruipur police acknowledged the arrests but refused to share details, saying “more raids and arrests were expected”.
Ali, the prime accused, and two others arrested from Delhi will be brought to West Bengal on transit remand.