While the local police has been hogging the limelight every time they busted a gang of traffickers, the city court has failed to convict anybody under the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) (ITP) Act over the past four years.
According to the data procured by HT, three such rackets were busted in 2010, four in 2011, two in 2012 and nine this year, till date.
'Difficult to prove crime'
Additional deputy commissioner of police (ADCP-crime) Harpreet Singh Mandher admitted that the rate of conviction under the Act was “very low”.
“In the court of law, it is very difficult for the prosecution to establish that money exchanged hands for establishing physical relations,” Mandher said, adding that in most cases, the accused involved were majors, so if they claimed consent, it would not amount to a crime.
The ADCP added, “Even the witnesses who have earlier helped to bust the gang later turn hostile in the court. However, city police keep raiding certain places like hotels and guest houses to keep a check on the flesh trade.”
Often, the accused are acquitted as the key witnesses do not appear in the court, he added.
“On August 13, 2010, we conducted a raid on a specific place in Basti Sheikh and arrested five people, including four women, under the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act. However, all accused were acquitted on March 11 as the key witnesses turned hostile and gave varied statements,” the ADCP added.
In another case wherein a woman was arrested on April 30, 2011, for running a brothel at her residence, the court acquitted the accused as the witness did not appear in court.
“In such cases, we feel helpless,” he said.
Asked if police appeal to the higher court against such acquittals, Mandher said, “If the witness turns hostile, there is no logic in appealing to the higher court.”
'Foreign involvement possible'
The ADCP did not rule out the involvement of foreign nationals in the rackets, as a Russian woman was arrested when a gang was unearthed recently. “Investigations showed that the kingpin belonged to Delhi, police sources had said,” he added.
Highly-placed sources told HT that high-profile rackets involve extensive use of mobile phones, as transactions are done through these only.