Mumbai: The Mumbai Police Crime Branch recently busted an illegal flesh trade racket where young women from all over the country were lured to Navi Mumbai with the promise of jobs and instead forced into prostitution. The police have rescued 17 women in the operation and arrested nine accused.
According to officials, investigations were first initiated into the matter when one of the victims approached them on August 4 this year. The woman told them that she came from a financially backward family and that the accused had promised to get her jobs as domestic help in Mumbai. Using this promise, the men convinced her to come to Navi Mumbai.
“Once she reached there, she was forced into flesh trade and found that there were others like her. The accused would forcibly send them to meet customers in hotels and lodges in various parts of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai and take away all their earnings,” said a Crime Branch officer.
The victim’s statement was recorded and the Anti Human Trafficking Cell (AHTC) was instructed to look into the matter. Based on the information received from the victim, four teams of the AHTC conducted coordinated raids at different locations in the Shirona village in Nerul on August 5. The police took all the 17 victims into their custody, along with the younger brother of one of the women, while nine pimps who were running the racket were arrested.
“We have identified two more people, who are said to be the masterminds of the racket. They are on the run and efforts are underway to trace and apprehend them. We are also finding out how long the racket had been running,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection) Balsing Rajput.
The rescued women were subsequently sent to a shelter home for rehabilitation. They hail from various states in India and the process of contacting their families has been initiated.
The accused have been charged with human trafficking, wrongful confinement, assault and criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code, along with relevant sections of the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act, officers said.