The arrest of a Nigerian national and his Khasi partner in Bangalore last week while they were trying to smuggle heroin out to South Africa, has led to a human trafficking racket in Meghalaya.
Nigerian Bertrend Tochekwu Ikwaka (23) and Dalphira Wahlang (26), hailing from this city, were caught last Friday with drugs worth Rs 8 crore. Dalphira was initially taken to be a flesh-trading victim but authorities have reasons to believe she could be part of a human trafficking racket.
“Complaints of minor girls being lured away to Goa and elsewhere in India to work as escort girls have been rising,” said a senior police officer. “We are probing this aspect while keeping a watch on some Nigerian footballers playing in local clubs for a possible connection.”
According to Hasina Kharbhih, head of a Shillong-based NGO battling human trafficking and HIV-AIDS, Daphira was a close associate of a local woman named Bethshwa Nelly Dympep, allegedly running the “escort girl” racket. Dympep, who works as an escort girl in Goa, had an FIR filed against her on September 1, 2008. She, however, was out on bail.
Bethshwa, the NGO said, had more than a year ago applied for a passport along with 65 other girls from the Northeast. These girls were promised jobs as escort girls in the tourism sector.
Kharbhih has sought protection following threats from Dympep and the human trafficking racket.