NEW DELHI: A desperado couple who came to Delhi in search of opportunities orchestrated one of the worst cases of human trafficking by beating the country’s top intelligence agencies to bring in more than 4,000 girls and women to feed the city’s prostitution racket.
Starting as small-time operators, their modus operandi, however, acquired such sophistication that they were able to avoid detection by the intelligence agencies, which followed the terrorist trail across the Bangladesh-Nepal border.
This they did by ditching the traditional border route and turning inward, in the process building up almost a national network of supply across Andhra, Bengal, Rajasthan and Karnataka.
The couple — Afaq Hussain and wife Saira Begum — have thus changed the vector of female trafficking in India as the flesh trade smugglers are finding it difficult to get women into Delhi’s GB Road brothels in which over 5,000 girls and women work.
While piling miseries on their hapless victims, the couple built up an empire of wealth and opulence worth Rs 250 crore spanning Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur in over 10 years. They own huge properties, possess expensive cars and have sent their kids to prestigious schools. They own a farmhouse, residential units in prime areas and shops in commercially-important locations. Their cars include brands such as Audi, Toyota and Honda. To fool people and their kids, they posed around as owners of two companies, which was only on paper.
Saira was originally from Hyderabad and Afaq came from Moradabad, UP. They came to Delhi for work. Afaq started working as a contractor and would get Rs 3,000-Rs 4,000 per month.
He came in contact with Saira at Kotha no. 58, GB Road. Afaq was impressed with the kind of money Saira was making from her racket and he offered to marry her, which led to their informal ‘Nikah’ in 1999. That was the beginning of a flourishing trafficking ‘business’ and they purchased their first Kotha on GB Road in 2003, which was worth Rs 40 crore. Most of their victims were minors belonging to poor families and brought to Delhi on the promise of lucrative jobs, sightseeing, and even on the pretext of marriage.
Once in Delhi, they were sold at GB Road for Rs 1-2 lakh. The victims were thrashed, confined, intoxicated and kept starved to force them into prostitution.
The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police recently filed a chargesheet against the two in the Tiz Hazari court. The chargesheet, which Express accessed, runs into 3,895 pages, almost four times larger than the one filed in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case.
The chargesheet has statements of 126 people on record, including almost a dozen victims. Police have so far arrested 10 people, including Afaq and Saira, their two managers, one driver, four Naikas and one henchman. A senior crime branch official said, a supplementary charge-sheet will be filed soon and more arrests will follow.
The victims had heart-rending stories to tell. Nita, 18, (name changed), from Bengaluru got engaged to a 24-year-old man named Romesh. The mother allowed her to leave the city as the man promised her daughter a good life. But as soon as she came to Delhi, she realised that she had been trapped into flesh trade.
Later, she discovered that the man who had promised to marry her was actually an agent.
In another case, Rani, 17, from Bengal was brought to Delhi on promise of better life. An agent developed familiarity with her and took her to GB Road on the pretext that the place was famous for great food. The girls were paid 10 per cent of the price at which they were sold, while those who managed the trade at different levels earned handsome amounts.
The pecking order was Rs 30,000- Rs 40,000 for the ‘Naikas’ or managers, and Rs 40,000- Rs 2,00,000 for the agents per deal.