Mumbai: 300 Children From Gujarat Sold For Rs 45 Lakh Each To US Based Clients
The Mumbai Police have nabbed the mastermind of an international child trafficking ring who allegedly sent over 300 girls from India to the US since 2007. Reportedly, Rajubhai Gamlewala alias Rajubhai who is originally from Gujarat would charge Rs 45 lakh for each child from his clients who are based in the US. While the fate of the girls who were sold remains unknown, some members of the racket were arrested in March 2018.
How was the international child trafficking racket busted?
According to the Times Of India, the racket came to light in March 2018, when actor Preeti Sood was informed by a friend that two minor girls were being applied makeup at a salon in Versova in Mumbai. She told the daily, “I went there on a suspicion that the girls were being readied for brothels. But once there, I realised that the racket was bigger than I thought.”
When she inquired about the girls, the men said that the children were being sent to their parents in the USA. The actor even asked the men to come to the police station, which they refused. While she stopped two men and called the police, the third reportedly ran away with the girls. The police were successful in arresting four men, which included the son of a retired police officer. Those arrested have been identified as Amir Khan, 36, Tajuddin Khan, 48, Afzal Shaikh, 35, and Rizwan Chotani, 39. The Versova police, at that time, had also rescued two girls, aged 11 and 17 years respectively, who were supposed to be sent to the US.
Reportedly, Rajubhai, who headed the gang was tracked down and arrested by the police using a Whatsapp number that he used for communicating with the members of his gang. Rajubhai is also a history-sheeter and was arrested earlier in 2007 for passport forgery.
Modus Operandi of the human trafficking gang
The police investigation has revealed that most of these girls were between the ages of 11 to 16 years who belonged to poor families from Gujarat. A police officer told the daily that families who were unable to take care of their children used to sell them.
Police also said that Gamlewala, upon receiving orders from his US-based clients, would instruct his gang to find families, mostly from Gujarat willing to sell a child. They would also find families who were willing to rent out their child’s passports. Then, the gang would select a passport with a picture which has some resemblance to a child. The gang would then pay a carrier to take the girls to the US, before which makeup would be applied on the child to make them look similar to the child on passport pictures. After the children were taken to the US, passports would then be returned to the original owners. The police are still trying to find as to how the passports would be stamped without the presence of its bearer. The accused have been booked under the IPC sections 34 (common intention) and 373 (buying minor for purposes of prostitution), while Gamlewala will be in custody till August 18.
The Logical Indian take
Human trafficking is the third largest crime after drugs and the illegal arms trade across the globe. Millions of men, women and children around the world are bought and sold as commodities into prostitution, forced labour and domestic servitude. In India, the problem of child trafficking is rampant. Children who are trafficked are subjected to sexual and physical exploitation, prostitution, child abuse and labour. As the world is trying to tackle the problem of trafficking, the authorities should take strict actions against the perpetrators behind such heinous crimes.