Pune: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed against the Maharashtra police in the Mumbai High Court for not investigating and prosecuting human traffickers. The PIL has been filed by girls that have been rescued from forced flesh trade and Rescue Foundation, and a Pune-based NGO, which rescues and repatriates girls forced into prostitution in major cities in the State.
The petition, which was filed three weeks ago, further points out that since no action is taken against flesh traffickers, they often track rescued girls and force them back into flesh trade. It pleads that investigating agencies must investigate such cases under sections 370 (Buying or disposing of any person as a slave/trafficking of persons) and 372 (selling minor for purposes of prostitution) of the IPC. It adds that all efforts must be taken to weed out offenders and abettors at source level.
“I was trafficked to Pune in 2011 by three people from West Bengal and forced into prostitution. However, I was rescued by the Faraskhana police in the same year. But my traffickers have still not been arrested, as the police didn’t investigate the matter despite me registering my statement against the traffickers at Faraskhana police station,” says Razia (name changed), one of the petitioners.
Shiny Padiyara, Superintendent of Rescue Foundation, said, “We have filed the petition because police don’t investigate and arrest traffickers. They rescue girls, but after completing paper work, they don’t bother to investigate or arrest the traffickers.
“There have been many incidences where rescued girls were trafficked again by the same traffickers, as the local police didn’t investigate to find out about the traffickers,” said Padiyara. She added that most cases of human trafficking happen from West Bengal.
Petitioner Rubina (name changed), another victim of human trafficking, who was trafficked to Pune from West Bengal when she was 12 years old, said, “I was forced into prostitution in 2006 and rescued in 2012. Police registered a case and I also informed them about my traffickers, but they are still at large as the police didn’t arrest them.”
Nisha Haroon, a sociologist based in Kolkata, who is also a petitioner, said, “In almost all cases, the victims’ statements recorded by the police are just cut copy pastes. They do not take due diligence in mentioning the names of traffickers properly. Brothel owners are traced through their property details, but in almost all cases, for traffickers, it is stated that their full names and addresses are not known. Most traffickers are known to the victims, but police conveniently do not take efforts to trace these traffickers.”