2 get 7 yrs’ RI for forcing minors into flesh trade



MUMBAI: A sessions court on Friday sentenced two women to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment for forcing minors into prostitution, under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA). The judgment is landmark owing to the conviction, which is a rarity in most cases, and the quantum of punishment. “We had lost hope as the accused were earlier acquitted in a similar case. But this conviction is significant for all of us. We have rehabilitated all the girls and they are now back with their families,” said Seema Adate, watching advocate and member of NGO Rescue Foundation, the complainant in the case.

The accused, Dimple Tamang and Sonu Tamang, were arrested in February 2009 following a complaint by Rescue Foundation. Dimple (35) owned the brothel and Sonu, her assistant, used to arrange for customers. All the girls who were forced into flesh trade were under 14 years of age. A total of 11 witnesses were examined and three rescued girls testified against Dimple and Sonu.

“We got a tip-off from our source that the women were running a brothel in Bhandup,” Adate said. The NGO then approached the Social Service Branch (SSB) of Mumbai police. The cops laid a trap to nab the women. They arranged for a man to pose as a customer. On February 29, 2009, the SSB personnel along with members of the Rescue Foundation and a panch witness went to the spot at Sachdev Chawl, Sonapur Galli in Bhandup. The SSB gave the bogus customer Rs 200, which was to be paid to the brothel owner. The police waited outside while the bogus customer and the panch witness went into the brothel.

Dimple then presented a minor girl to the bogus customer took the money. He was sent with the girl to a room. At 8.55pm, on receiving a signal from the panch witness, the police went into the premises and nabbed Dimple and Sonu. During the raid, the police found nine minors in another room. The police also seized 77 packets of condoms from a wooden cupboard, along with Rs 5.46 lakh in cash and gold jewellery. Condom packets were also found under the pillow of the bed where the bogus customer was sitting with the minor girl. When Dimple was searched, the Rs 200 were found on her person along with Rs 1,000.

The statements of all 10 girls corroborated the fact that Dimple was the owner of the brothel and Sonu her aide. “These girls were brought to the city from Nepal on the pretext of getting them jobs as domestic helps,” Adate said. Both Dimple and Sonu were out on bail since April 2009. Dimple, who was present in court with her newborn, cried on hearing the verdict.



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