Trafficking gangs hang around schools to lure girls with sweets and gifts to the national capital. This shocking revelation has been made by several girls who had gone missing and had been rescued by the Jharkhand police from Delhi recently.
A 14 year-old girl from Gumla who was dumped in Delhi after being allegedly raped by traffickers is the latest victim of this disturbing trend, as are the six teenagers from Latehar district who had gone missing from school and were brought back to Jharkhand from the national capital a fortnight ago.
“They said good food, gifts and better life awaits us in Delhi,” a minor girl who was forced to work as a domestic help at a posh locality in New Delhi has told NGOs and the police.
Men and women in their thirties spotted around schools get friendly with girls and offer them sweets, snacks and even gifts, the girls have said.
The father of one of the six girls had lodged a complaint against one Rekha Devi with the Manika police station in Latehar on January 13, 2014, alleging that Devi had lured his 12 year-old daughter to Delhi. HT has a copy of the FIR.
“The increase in the cases of girls going missing from schools hints at involvement of human trafficking agents,” said a senior police official from Latehar, wishing anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
According to records with the Missing Child Helpline, a joint initiative of the Jharkhand CID, Unicef and NGOs, out of the total 127 cases of missing children registered in the past six months, 27 had gone missing from schools.
The police are yet to confirm whether school officials too had a hand in the disappearance of the girls, although school authorities said the girls did not go missing from school but could have been picked up on their way to school or home.
Rishi Kant, an anti-human trafficking activist from Delhi and a founder member of Shakti Vahini, said a majority of Jharkhand minors rescued by him in Delhi went missing from schools. He slammed the poor security at schools in rural Jharkhand.
In fact, trafficking kingpin Baba Bamdev, who ran more than 400 placement agencies in the National Capital Region NCR and was arrested in Khunti last week, had been spotted by anti-trafficking activists thrice near schools in Khunti and Simdega in the past six months, said Baijnath Kumar, an activist.
The police had arrested Bamdev on the basis of information provided by Kumar.