A 28-year-old woman and her three-year-old daughter were allegedly sold in a human trafficking racket which originated from a flower shop near a Bhopal temple, discovered the police.
While the woman was sold for Rs 1.5 lakh to a 55-year-old widower farmer Sumer Gurjar in the dense forests of Malawar, her daughter was sold for Rs 50,000 to a beggar Gangaram (35) in the neighbouring Vidisha district, said the police.
The flower seller was allegedly paid an advance of Rs 10,000 by Gurjar and the remaining Rs 40,000 was to be paid in ten monthly instalments of Rs 4,000 each, claimed the police.
After being trafficked, the woman was imprisoned by Gurjar in a room, where he allegedly routinely raped her and forced her to work as labourer in agricultural fields under watchful eyes of armed guards.
The woman is a native of Khandwa district (280 km from Bhopal) and had been living with her daughter and maternal aunt in the Mother India Colony since being divorced by her husband four years ago. She used to earn a living working as daily wage labourer and also used to beg at railway stations, places of worship and traffic signals.
The incident came to light when the woman’s sister recently reported to Shahjahanabad police that her sister and toddler niece had been missing since August 2017. The subsequent probe led the police to flower seller Ranjit, who upon thorough interrogation allegedly confessed knowing the woman through a friend.
Additional SP (ASP-Bhopal Zone) Rajesh Bhadouria told the New Indian Express, “Two of the five accused include Ranjit, who runs a flower shop near the Kali Temple in Bhopal’s Talaiya area and the beggar Gangaram to whom the toddler girl was sold. It’s also suspected that Gangaram’s live-in partner in Vidisha district could have been trafficked from Rajasthan.
“Entire operation by six teams of city police which included female cops started on Thursday and spanned over 72 hours. Three remaining accused, including rich farmer Sumer Gurjar and his father and the middleman in Bhopal identified as Shanu are yet to be arrested,” he added.
The accused, including the arrested duo, have been booked under IPC Sections 363A (kidnapping or maiming a minor for begging), 366 (kidnapping or inducing a woman to compel marriage, etc), 376 (rape) and 370 (human trafficking).
According to the Crime in India 2016, a report released by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), a total of 51 cases of human trafficking were reported in MP during 2016. A total 120 persons (66 males and 54 females) were trafficked, out of which 97 were aged below 18 years (62 males and 32 females) and 23 aged above 18 years (4 males and 19 females). Also, total 4817 victims (1595 males and 3222 females) were rescued from traffickers.