Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, March 6
In an early morning operation, the Punjab Police on Saturday busted an interstate sex racket active in Ludhiana with the arrest of 14 persons, including 10 girls along with the lady kingpin already on bail in a similar case, who used to target needy girls out of jobs due to Covid-induced lockdown from the city and outside, forcing them into prostitution.
Antecedents of girls found involved in the flesh trade have been traced back to
as far as Nepal, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh and Amritsar, said ADCP, Ludhiana, Rupinder Kaur Sran, who led the operation.
“ We have also recovered restricted drugs Etizolam and Escitalopram Oxalate tablets which are only allowed on prescription and the accused are being interrogated to ascertain the source of their supply,” the ADCP said.
Initial investigations have also revealed the names of similar operatives in other cities with whom the main accused and the girls were in touch to widen their net, Sran said, adding that all these angles were being probed and more arrests were likely.
Twenty tablets of Etizolam and Escitalopram Oxalate tablets, besides five pieces of Spanisshe Fliege sex drops were seized. Seven mobile phones, 28 packets of condoms, besides Rs 3,630 and two liquor bottles have also been seized from the spot.
The ADCP said a tip-off was received about flesh trade activity being run by the accused and her movements were kept under watch. The main accused has been identified as Manjit Kaur, alias Pammi aunty, a resident of street number 10, New Subhash Nagar. She was also arrested in a similar case lodged at the Jodhewal police station in 2018. Three men were also arrested from the house during the raid who had came to the spot as customers.
She was on bail now and was running the illegal activity from her house only by luring young needy girls into prostitution. The modus operandi was to engage girls once into her net to target more needy girls out of work due to the Covid-induced lockdown and force them into prostitution.
Of those arrested, one girl from Delhi was lured into the trade because she could not repay the loan she had taken from a relative to make ends meet during the pandemic while another girl was picked up by the main accused from a city gurdwara. These girls back home used to tell their family members that they were working in a factory or performing in marriage parties, Sran said.
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