Baby Falak case exposes child sex racket in Delhi hotels

TRAFFICKING ON RISE- DELHI

TRAFFICKING ON RISE- DELHI

KUMAR VIKRAM IN INDIA TODAY

When the rest of the city goes to sleep, defenceless children brought from across the country are awake satisfying the lust of men who check in at the brightly lit new hotels on the NH-8 stretch at Mahipalpur opposite Delhi‘s international airport.

These children forced into prostitution are made to service seven men a day for six days in a week and if they don’t achieve their target on one day, they have to do it on the day after.

It’s a horrific story that would have never seen the light of day had a 14-year-old girl not come to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on January 18 with a two-year-old girl battered and bitten all over.

There was a nationwide shock, horror and disbelief when the ‘Baby Falak’ story made front-page headlines. There was an outpouring of outrage against the ‘monster’ who had savaged a child.

As the Baby Falak story dominated the headlines for weeks, no tears were shed for 14-year-old Sunita (name changed) who herself had been brutalised by almost everyone she came across in her life – from her father and her so-called boyfriend who helped her escape the hell-hole of sex trade to complete strangers.

Abused, assaulted and forced to have sex with seven men every day, the teenager now battles to cope with the emotional and physical trauma that she suffered for months. But as she undergoes counselling at the juvenile home she is lodged at, Sunita has exposed the sordid details of the sex racket flourishing on an unimaginable scale in the hotels in Mahipalpur.

Sunita has made heart-rending revelations about the ordeal she and dozens of other girls, including those younger than her, are made to suffer.

According to her, there is a contract system in place according to which the girls have to entertain at least seven clients every day. If a girl gets less than seven clients in a day, she is required to make up for it the next day by sleeping with more people.

The hotel managements are very much hand-in-glove with the people running this racket. “The hotel managers know of the illegal activity that happens. Whenever they see a police van or jeep, they help in hiding the girls. Sometimes, they send the girls to the terrace,” Sunita said. She has also revealed the names of some of the hotels. Even more shocking in this whole grisly tale is the Delhi Police‘s apathy.

The victim, against whom the culpable homicide charge was slapped after baby Falak’s death, made these disclosures during the counselling sessions she has been going through with the assistance of social workers and members of Delhi’s Child Welfare Committee (CWC), which has come out with several reports on the case.

According to the CWC reports, the police were repeatedly informed about the child sex racket but they did not act. The report castigates the local police, describing their attitude towards the case as “casual”.

According to a report, Sunita maintained a diary which contains the contact numbers of other girls as well. The diary was handed over to the investigating officer (IO), but it seems the police sat on it rather than rescuing the minor girls.

Commenting on police apathy, a CWC order issued on March 13 notes: “It is observed that even after one month when details of the hotels and guesthouses and a girl child were given to the IO, there is no action taken as yet.”

Senior police officials denied the allegations. Ajay Choudhary, additional commissioner of police of south-east district, said all the accused “involved in this case” have already been arrested and further investigations are on. “We have received the reports from the agency (CWC) and have gone through the details. It is a serious matter and police officers are working on it.”

Statements made by Sunita have exposed the network of pimps involved in the trade. Rana Gupta, the husband of Aarti – the woman who pushed Sunita into the flesh trade – has a vast network of men who work to supply girls on weekly contracts in and around Delhi.

Under this system, the girls are sent to the clients for a week. Sunita revealed that she was sent to a client on a weekly contract once by Pooja, another pimp. But when Aarti realised that Sunita was very young, she cut short the period of the contract to four days.

Raj Mangal Prasad, chairperson, CWC, said that crucial details have come out during the counselling of the victim. “It is a sensitive and serious case and the police should have a proactive approach. Child trafficking and flesh trade have gone up in recent years. Hundreds of girls, including minors belonging to poor families in remote states, are being brought to the cities for flesh trade. It has become a demand-driven business. Demand has gone high and so has the supply,” he added.

The CWC also suggested that the victim should not be questioned by the police, as she had expressed her discomfort, and that the police should contact her through the social workers.

Another order of the committee reads: “She (Sunita) has been used for commercial sexual exploitation by Pooja, Aarti, Sandeep and even Rajkumar alias Dilshad. Sandeep (Pooja’s husband) raped her repeatedly for three days. At Pooja’s house, clients would visit and abuse her. She was sent on a one-week contract to Munirka at a women’s house in August 2011. She was sent to different places to entertain customers and Dilshad would drop her at these places. All the money earned through her was pocketed by Pooja.”

According to the committee, the victim, who has studied up to Class VI, has showed many behavioural problems, but is slowly making improvements and wants to study further.

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