In a sordid tale of man’s lust for lucre, members of the Banchra tribe here 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.
The police here have recently rescued 21 abducted girls — aged between 1 and 8 — from brothels in a series of raids.
The Banchra community used to push their young girls into prostitution when they attained puberty. “But with a dwindling female population in the community, the men have resorted to abducting and drugging minor girls from surrounding areas,” said Mandsaur superintendent of police GK Pathak.
“Administering drugs and growth hormones to pre-adolescent girls is a new and disturbing trend,” he said.
Some of the 34 men arrested in the raids admitted to giving estrogen (a hormone) and steroids such pednisolone dexona and kenacort dexona to their victims at frequent intervals.
Apart from the trauma of 'growing' fast in a hellish environment, the impact of the drugs can be devastating on the young ones.
“Though growth hormones such as estrogen advance breast growth and puberty within three to six months, it's given in tiny doses to young women (who need them),” said a senior endocrinologist at Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
“In girls as young as one year of age, it would serve no purpose. Rather, it would have harmful effects such as abnormal hair growth in the form of a beard or moustache, and a lot of unnecessary weight,” the specialist said.
(Inputs from HTC, Delhi)