Mumbai’s biggest sex racket busted, Crime Branch arrests 4 from Andheri
Mumbai Crime Branch on Wednesday arrested four people in connection with what is now being considered the city’s biggest sex racket, wherein at least 500 girls from across the country are suspected to have been pushed into flesh trade.
The racket was busted with a help of one of the victims, who had managed to escape a few months back. It is believed that all of the girls were lured to the city with a promise of a better life.
The 24-year-old victim had been brought to the city when she was just 10. She managed to escape earlier this year and reach her family in Agra. While the girl refused to share the details of her torturous past with her family initially, she started revealing more details as time passed.
Once the family learnt everything about her past, they informed the Agra police who then alerted the Mumbai police about the racket. After learning about the racket, the Crime Branch (Unit IX) learnt more about the operation by speaking to the victim. Following which, they conducted a raid during the wee hours of Wednesday in one of the flats and managed to arrest the four main accused.
The accused, identified as brothers Jitendra Thakur (37) and Vimal Thakur (47), Anju Thakur (43) and Poonam Thakur (45), were arrested from their residence at Prime Rose building on Lokhandwala Market lane at Andheri (West).
According to a police source, the accused had a network of agents in villages across the country. They would always be on the lookout for financially weak families which had daughters aged around 10. Once such family was found, Jitendra and Vimal would visit the village posing as NGO workers and convince their parents to send their daughter to Mumbai for better education.
Once the girls were in Mumbai, the female operatives Anju and Poonam would force them to work as housemaids. After the girls reached puberty, they would be forced into prostitution, sent to work for dance bars or be sold to highest bidders from the middle-east.
While the accused are in custody, the Crime Branch officials were unable to rescue the 9 girls that were found in the flat as they claimed to be relatives of Thakur brothers. Since they were of legal age, they could not be forced out of the flat without consent. As a result, cops have now noted their details and are trying to ascertain their real identities.
The Crime Branch suspects that there are many such flats across the city, each housing anywhere from six to twelve victims. They will be conducting more raids to rescue more girls.
While the exact number of girls trapped in the racket is unclear, officials believe that this might be the city’s biggest sex racket, extending all the way to the middle east.
All four accused have been remanded in police custody till September 20.