RAIPUR: A district and sessions court at Jashpur in Chhattisgarh has sentenced two persons accused of human trafficking to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 45000 on both.
This is the first time a sessions court in Chhattisgarh has punished any placement agency accused for human trafficking. Jashpur, situated around 350 km north-east of Raipur and with 67 per cent tribal population, has earned an undeserved notoriety as hub for human trafficking for the past few decades and witnessed thousands of local girls being lured away through intermediaries and the placement agencies as domestic maid in urban areas.
"Once they are land in big cities, the hapless girls are often denied contacts with their family and relatives. Many of these girls live in illegal confinement and even sexually exploited", affirmed Ramesh Sharma, a senior journalist in Jashpur.
The sessions judge Rajneesh Srivastava while pronouncing the judgement observed that the human trafficking is grave issue and going by the seriousness of the crime where in the existing chain many are involved and operate in a clandestine manner.
So, it will not be inappropriate to offer any reprieve to the placement agency found blameworthy, he cited.
A resident of Lodam in Jashpur Karmela Toppo (28) and Haripad Das (47) owner of the placement agency residing in Tughlakabad, south Delhi have been convicted by the court. In 2016 Toppo enticed a tribal girl by offering her some work with a good salary in Delhi and took her to Delhi without informing or taking consent from the parents of the girl.
She then handed her over to a Delhi-based private placement agency. Her parents searched for their daughter but in vain.
They incidentally came in contact with another girl who was also taken to Delhi by Toppo along with their daughter but she somehow managed to return Jashpur. She revealed that their daughter is in Delhi. They lodged a police complaint in 2017 following which the Jashpur superintendent of police Prashant Thakur sent a team to Delhi to look for her.
They brought the girl back to Jashpur and produced her before the court in May last year. "It's a major court decision that will be deterrent for other placement agencies too. We promptly probe every complaint case on human trafficking to ensure the victims return home and the criminals are brought to book", Thakur told the Express.
The court has directed Rs 40000 out of the penalty imposed on the two be paid to the victim as compensation.