Maharashtra: Abducted and sold thrice as sex slave, 15-year-old girl escapes the clutches of captors

After returning to Karjat on March 11, the girl filed a complaint with the Karjat police but they did not register it and instead assaulted her.

A woman was arrested for abducting a 15-year-old girl and selling her to traffickers almost six months after she was sold as sex slave to different men. The incident came to light after the minor girl, who was kidnapped last year and sold thrice, finally escaped from the clutches of the accused and returned to her hometown in Karjat.

After returning on March 11, the girl even filed a complaint with the Karjat police but they did not register it and instead assaulted her. After days of inaction in the matter, the Shiv Sena members today gheraoed the Karjat police station in protest. The Karjat police is now investigating the case after interference from the Child Welfare Commission.

The girl was kidnapped on September 9, 2016 when she had left home after an altercation with her mother over her marriage as a minor. A woman from the neighbourhood approached her and took her home in Raigarh district. She then tried getting the girl raped but after the minor resisted, she was sold to a woman trafficker in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

GIRL PARADED IN FRONT OF BUYERS

The trafficker tortured the girl, starved her and kept her blindfolded in a dark room. She was also paraded in front of several buyers who wanted to buy her as a sex slave. A 35-year-old man then bought her from the woman trafficker and took her to an undisclosed location in the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

The girl was forced to have sex but when she resisted she was burnt, tortured using electric current and starved after which she gave in to his demands. She was returned to the agent after a month who then sold the girl to another man. He repeated the episode until the minor gave in to his demands.

When she was served food, sedatives were added to her meals. But one night earlier this month, she did not eat the food served and managed to remain awake. Making the most of the opportunity, she screamed for help and neighbours came to her rescue.

She reached Karjat on March 11 but did not find her family at their residence. She then approached the police and recorded her statement. The cops listened to her ordeal but did not register a case claiming she was lying.

According to officials from the district Women and Child Development department, no investigation was done even after the minor complained about her neighbour. The girl then recited her ordeal to counsellors from Child Welfare Committee (CWC) following which child protection department and Women and Child Development were informed.

CHILDLINE, CWC INTERFERE AFTER INACTION

Officials from Childline recorded the girl's statement with district Child Protection officer and District Women and Child Development officer, which ordered the police to register an offence under POCSO and Child Trafficking Act.

CWC officials have written to Karjat police asking them to register a case against the accused involved in the sex racket under relevant sections of IPC, POCSO and Juvenile Justice Act.

"The victim was sent to the women shelter where counsellors from the Childline met her. She was sold thrice as sex slave. Despite the victim revealing details of her ordeal, the police did not register a case and in turn, assaulted her and sent her to the women shelter. The police initially didn't register the case despite our orders to follow the procedure according to the rules under the juvenile justice act," Mahendra Gaikwad, Woman Child Development Officer, Raigad district said.

"The victim's statement reveals that a sex racket involving minors is being run from Karjat and spreads across various states. Sex slaves wihin the age bracket 14-16 year old are being sold, which is a serious situation. We demand that the case be transferred from Karjat to some other jurisdiction where senior officers take immediate action against the accused involved," district Childline coordinator Raigad district, Ashok Jangle said.

"The girl came back on March 11 and recited her ordeal. We have started the investigation," Vijay Chawre, assistant police inspector posted at Karjat police station, said.

When asked if the victim was assaulted by the police as claimed by CWC officials and the victim, Chawre said, "This is false. We are already investigating the case under sections of POCSO Act and will add other relevant sections. We have also arrested the girl's neighbour who had abducted her and sold her to another woman involved in women trafficking in Gujarat with two of her accomplices.

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