Cops’ lack of interest fuels trafficking in Warangal

Half-hearted police investigations in most elopement cases involving underage and young couples from tribal dominated mandals in Warangal is coming as a boon in disguise for human trafficking gangs.

The Maripeda police learnt this from a 14-year-old girl and Class IX student of a local government school in Maripeda, who eloped with one Ch. Naresh, 27, an unemployed youth from her village in September last year and landed at Secunderabad railway station.

Accompanied by a friend Dasarath, Naresh left Maripeda village with the girl but left her stranded at the railway station on getting cold feet after reaching Hyderabad. Worried parents of the girl filed a missing person’s complaint with Maripeda police station after a few days but officials treated the case like a routine elopement case, which is common in tribal dominated mandals like Narsimhulupeta, Maripeda, Koruvi, Kesamudram, Mahbubabad and Dornakal.

Police sources blamed extreme poverty, illiteracy, casual attitude of parents in the upbringing of their children and influence of movies for the high level of elopement cases in these mandals.

In the meantime, the stranded girl was lured by one M. Venkateshwarlu from the railway station only to turn up into a prostitution racket spread over Nellore, Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Vishakapatnam.

The girl was rescued by a Maripeda police team led by SI Abdul Rehman from Nellore on July 7 after they reportedly posed as clients and reunited the girl with her family in Warangal.

Police sources cite difficulty in prevention of elopement of young girls from tribal hamlets and blame their parents for failing to control them. Incidentally, the parents of the girl had lodged the missing person’s complaint in September last year with Maripeda SI Abdul Rehman, who took the case lightly but finally rescued the girl from Nellore on July 7.

The case also resulted in arrests and remand of seven persons — four men and three women — belonging to Warangal, Hyderabad and Nellore for their direct and indirect involvement in prostitution.

“This is the first case of elopement where a girl accidentally fell into the trap of a gang running a prostitution racket in Hyderabad, Nellore, Rangareddy and Vishakapatnam,” says DSP Mahbubabad Ms A. Rama Devi, who is planning to take up a massive awareness drive against human trafficking in vulnerable areas in tribal dominated mandals in her jurisdiction.

The Warangal child helpline 1098 is now providing professional counselling to the girl in Maripeda while the police are on the lookout for the absconding M. Venkateshwarlu including one Karim G. of Nellore, who is said to be the kingpin in the prostitution racket.

Police sources also feel the prostitution racket runs deep and arrests or interrogations of these two persons could reveal many other involved in the trafficking cum prostitution racket.