Shahdol (Madhya Pradesh): At least 18 minor girls and boys were rescued and three members of an inter-state gang involved in human trafficking were arrested in Madhya Pradesh's Shahdol district, police said on Friday.
The children between the ages of five and 17, mostly belonging to tribal families, were being transported to neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, where they were allegedly going to be sold, an official said.
The police had received a tip-off that a gang was involved in picking up children from the district to take them to Meerut, Hapur and other cities of the neighbouring state, where they were going to be sold to sugarcane growers, Additional Director General of Police G Janardhan and district superintendent of police Avadesh Goswami said.
According to the officials, the police intercepted a bus heading towards Uttar Pradesh late on Thursday night and found 18 girls and boys being taken away with the permission of their parents and guardians.
At least 13 children were from Shahdol, three were from Umaria district and two hailed from Chhattisgarh, they said.
The police have arrested bus driver Sonu Kumar Sharma (37), a resident of Bulandshahr, Surchandra (24), a resident of Meerut, an agent Shakeel Ahmed (29), a resident of Hapur in Uttar Pradesh, under relevant sections of the Human Trafficking Act and Indian Penal Code, they said.
A hunt has been launched to nab the fourth accused Sonu Kumar, a resident of Meerut, it was stated.
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