Duo gets seven years RI for forcing minor into flesh trade | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Duo gets seven years RI for forcing minor into flesh trade

In a significant development, a fast-track Sewri court recently sentenced two men to seven years' rigorous imprisonment for forcing a minor into prostitution and slapped a fine of Rs30,000 each as compensation for the victim.

mumbai Updated: Jul 25, 2011 01:04 IST
Surabhi Vaya

In a significant development, a fast-track Sewri court recently sentenced two men to seven years' rigorous imprisonment for forcing a minor into prostitution and slapped a fine of Rs30,000 each as compensation for the victim.

The judgment is landmark owing to the conviction, which is a rarity in most cases, and the quantum of punishment. "Getting convictions in such cases is difficult as victims as well as witnesses often turn hostile. In this case, the victim cooperated with us," said V Gadgil, inspector from the social service branch who investigated the matter.

Originally from Bangladesh, the victim's family moved to Mira Road three years ago. The victim who worked as a domestic help in Mira Road was approached by one Saidul who offered to help her get a lucrative job in Vasai.

But, instead of helping her, he raped her and then allegedly sold her off to Ramadevi Podbolo, a brothel owner in Kamathipura, around eight months ago when she was 16.

On learning about the victim last year, International Justice Mission, an NGO, approached the social service branch of the police for help.

The police raided the brothel and rescued the victim. Podbolo and Nagraj Gauda, who ran the brothel, were arrested.

Apart from provisions of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) (PITA) Act, 1956, the court also charged the accused under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, including procreation from a minor girl, selling and buying minor for purpose of prostitution.

The court observed that the most crucial aspect of the case was the age of the victim. Medical tests ascertained that the victim was 17 years old, with a margin of six months. The court also rejected the defence's arguments that the girl was not a minor.

Taking a stern stance, additional sessions judge GD Tadwalkar observed: "As far as leniency [in sentencing] is concerned, when the offence is anti-social and when they have ruined the life of a minor girl, when the girl was required to do prostitution against her will, then such persons deserve no leniency."

Aaboo Varghese, head, anti-trafficking wing of Oasis, an NGO, said: "Conviction in such cases is rare. On several occasions, accused have walked free because it is difficult to prove that money changed hands."