Court tells cops to ‘physically’ verify records of fake placement agency

New Delhi

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NEW DELHI: Days after the police arrested two men for child trafficking, the Greater Kailash-based placement agency the men operated has come under the scanner. The Lajpat Nagar Child Welfare Committee has ordered the Lapat Nagar police to check all records of the Astha Placement Agency as “in all likelihood, there could be many more victims of child trafficking and sexual abuse who have received employment through this agency”.

In a written order (a copy of which is with TOI) the court has asked the police “to seize all records of the agency”. In a first-of-its-kind ruling, the court has ordered the investigating officer to “physically verify each placement to check whether any of its employees was working as a bonded labourer.” The CWC has also asked that “a detailed action taken report (ATR) should be submitted at the next hearing by the IO in person.”

“The police should also enlist the help of NGO Shakti Vahini whose research officer will offer his services to conduct door-to-door investigations,” said Raaaj Mangal Prasad, chairperson of the Lajpat Nagar CWC.

Earlier in the same case, TOI had reported how trafficked children below the age of 14 are sexually abused by fake placement agencies. The southeast district police had arrested the owners of a placement agency in East of Kailash for exploiting two girls aged 14, from Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, for the past one year. The accused were identified as Rajesh and Ranbir Singh.

The incident provoked the unified Anti-Human Trafficking Cell of the Delhi police, led by the crime branch, to consider slapping stringent sections under the Child Labour Act against anyone found employing children below the age of 14 in the city. “We have directed all officers to treat all child labour complaints seriously and prosecute the employer as well,” said additional DCP (crime) Pramod Khuswah.

The child trafficking racket was busted on June 8 when two minor girls were recovered from one of the platforms at Old Delhi Railway Station by the RPF. After a formal enquiry, the station police handed over the girls to PS Kalkaji where the girls revealed they had escaped from the Astha placement agency.

One of the minor girls, 14, was brought to Delhi from West Bengal a year ago by one Ranvir, the owner of Astha placement agency, through two women operatives based in Jalpaiguri. She was put to work in the house of Rajesh alias Tinku at Malviya Nagar. Later, she was shifted to Kalkaji where one Ashish, lived in a rented apartment.

“The girl said that she had been confined to a house, compelled to give body massages and had been sexually assaulted by Rajesh on several occasions. Later on, she managed to escape from the house along with another minor girl aged 14 who too had been tricked and brought to Delhi four days ago,” said Meghna Yadav, additional DCP (southeast). The other girl was forced to work at a house at Masjid Moth from 8 am to 11.30 pm but was not paid a single penny.

Sources in the crime branch said that these fake agencies paid Rs 20-25,000 to procure trafficked children, who they would then place at residential houses as domestic help or as labourers in small manufacturing units.


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