The Madhya Pradesh police are gearing up for a major DNA test exercise to ascertain the maternity of 869 girls currently living in the Banchra community hamlets in Mandsaur district.
The police move arises from the suspicion that most of these girls were abducted and brought here only to be pushed into the flesh trade.
Hindustan Times was the first to report how members of the Banchra tribe have taken to abducting young girls, including one-year-olds, pumping them with hormones and steroids to hasten their physical growth and selling them into the flesh trade.
“We have inputs that there are many more abducted children in the Banchra settlements. The DNA test for maternity will be our next step to establish how many women of the Banchra community are the biological mothers of the girl children in their possession,” inspector general of police Upendra Jain said.
The police action came after 21 abducted girls — aged between 1 and 8 — were rescued from brothels in a series of raids over the last two weeks.
The police were forced to weigh the DNA option after the women who claimed to be biological mothers of the girls failed to produce any documents to corroborate the same.
Subsequent police investigation after the major crackdown on traffickers revealed that 39 hamlets of Banchras in Mandsaur were home to 869 girl children aged up to 10 years.
“It’s surprising to see so many girl children in their settlements. That too when it’s known that women in this community refrain from getting pregnant,” Mandsaur superintendent of police GK Pathak told HT.
Police are also trying to get photos of these children sent to police stations across the state to check if they are among those reported missing. The authenticity of their birth certificates is also being verified.
Traditionally Banchra women who are into flesh trade (called Khilawdi in local dialect) are rarely allowed to marry within the community. Those who violate the tradition are severely punished.