An IPS officer from Telangana, Mahesh Muralidhar Bhagwat, has received an award from the US Department of State for his fight against human trafficking in India. He is currently working as the first Commissioner of Police for Rachakonda, a year old commiserate.
Each year, the US Department of State is known to acknowledge the work of people across a variety of professions for their commendable efforts in fighting the menace of human trafficking. They can be anyone – from NGO workers, lawmakers, police officials to everyday citizens who have walked that extra mile for curbing trafficking in humans. These are the people who remained undeterred from their mission in spite of various hurdles that they had to face.
Bhagwat has been listed in the 2017 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report Heroes that was released on June 27 by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, US Department of State. He is the third Indian IPS officer to be presented with this award.
He has demonstrated extraordinary commitment and has been a dedicated fighter against human trafficking since 2004. Bhagwat has participated in anti-trafficking operations that have saved the lives of hundreds of victims from horrific situations of trafficking. His innovative and highly effective approach to investigate and unveil trafficking operations has fetched him many accolades.
The US Department of State report, “He has pioneered the use of legal provisions to close sites where human trafficking is known to occur. Under his command, Rachakonda police closed 25 brothels-five hotels and 20 residential apartments in less than a year and participated in one of the largest crackdowns on labour trafficking in the country, which led to the identification and removal of more than 350 children forced to work in brick kilns. In addition to being a central figure in trafficking deterrence efforts, Bhagwat also constantly pushes for human trafficking to be a top priority for the Telangana state of India.”
Speaking to The Logical Indian, the IPS officer said, “I am delighted on receiving this prestigious award – it is a recognition of the work that I have been carrying forward since 2004, initially in this state and later even beyond the borders of the state.”
Bhagwat added, “I mostly specialise in rescue operations that entail after the raids carried out by the police. Often, it is seen that the responsibility of the police ends with the raid and the immediate rescue of the victims. But I have taken a deep interest in the rehabilitation and restoration of these victims with the help of other stakeholders like the woman and child development and civil society organisations.”
Bhagwat has used his immense experience in the field to write a resource book named ‘Synergy Among Stakeholders’ which is part of a certificate course on trafficking in humans in an open university in Delhi.
He has also been a part of Operation Muskaan, that has rescued 350 child labourers from the brick kilns. “Hailing from Odisha, these kids were being exploited in those brick kilns – we saved them and ensured that they received education in their mother tongue, Oriya,” he said.
Among other heroes listed in the US report are Alika Kinan from Argentina, Leonardo Sakamoto from Brazil, Vanaja Jasphine from Cameroon, Viktoria Sebhelyi from Hungary, Amina Oufroukhi from Morocco, Allison Lee from Taiwan, and Boom Mosby from Thailand.
The Logical Indian community salutes the efforts of Mahesh Bhagwat who has accomplished a commendable job in combating trafficking in humans in the state of Telangana. The country needs many more dedicated police officers like Bhagwat who would take active steps for strengthening the law and order situation in India.