KASUR: The Pattoki police arrested on Thursday four people, including three women, in neighbourhood Sharifpura for buying minor girls for prostitution. The parents of the traded children said they gave them to a midwife because of poverty, police said.
The police with Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CPWB) officials raided two dens, reportedly brothels, and rescued the minor girls. The raid was initiated with a TV channel’s undercover squad. The rescued girls are in the custody of the CPWB.
A case was lodged under sections 371-B (buying person for the purpose of prostitution) and 511 (offences punishable with imprisonment for life) of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 34 of The Punjab Destitute and Neglected Children Act.
According to complainant, Ahtasham Arshad, a CPWB official, they received an application that Zahida Perveen, Manzooran Bibi and Akram bought two minor girls, one 12 years old and the other three, from someone in Sharifpura. The CPWB got search warrants from a local court before raiding the houses, the first information report (FIR) said.
The police also arrested midwife Haleema Bibi who reportedly sold the girls to the suspects. Haleema was arrested on the statement of Manzooran who said she bought the three years old girl from the midwife against Rs80,000.
According to Station House Officer (SHO) Saqlain Bukhari, the minor girl (3) was from village Maan, some 10 kilometres from Kasur. She is the daughter of a poor brick kiln worker who had six daughters before the birth of the sold girl. The couple told the police that they gave their seventh daughter to Haleema when she was one day old. They said they did not get anything from Haleema as they just wanted to get rid of the daughter.
Mr Bukhari said the the 12-year-old rescued girl was from a poor labourer family in a Deepalpur village who sold her to Haleema out of poverty.
The SHO said he suspected that the girl (12) was given to Haleema without any money but she sold her to Manzooran. He said that investigation was likely to lead to more such cases. That police will ascertain the identity of the rescued girls through DNA testing.
According to the police, the girl (12) was sold against Rs50,000, some 10 years back, while three years old was sold against Rs80,000 when she was only one day old. Suspects Akram and Sadiq fled. According to the complainant, Sadiq escaped with a minor girl who was also sold to the accused after being kidnapped. The police are also raiding sites for more arrests.
Sharifpura was earlier in news in 2011 when 10 women, who were abducted, sold and later turned into sex workers, were rescued by the police. Then district police officer Gohar Nafees established a team after he received a letter from a woman seeking help to free her and other women from their captors. These girls were abducted from different places and sold to these dens.