Calcutta 'trafficker' on BBC claims police collusion

London, Jan. 24: A BBC investigative report on sex trafficking in India, with Calcutta as the centre of operations, has now been shown to a worldwide television audience, days after it was broadcast to UK listeners on Radio 4.

In the deeply disturbing programme, a Calcutta trafficker ' a sort of "Mr Big" in his line of business ' alleges he is plying his trade with the blessings of police.

To be fair to the police, the charges are denied emphatically by Shankar Chakraborty who has the sign, "SPL IGP CID", outside his office in Calcutta. "This is one of the allegations easily brought against the police... because police are doing very well in the field of human trafficking," he assures the BBC. "The allegation of corruption against police is very negligible. The fight is really on."

(Contacted by The Telegraph today, Chakraborty denied the trafficker's allegations. But he added: "This (what has been reported by BBC) is a very serious allegation. If we receive a specific allegation, we can conduct a probe. If a policeman is found hand in glove with the traffickers, he will be dismissed from service immediately and punished according to law.")

The BBC's investigative reporter, Natalia Antelava, appears less than convinced and often appalled by what she uncovers.

The face of the trafficker, who is interviewed by Antelava, is dimly lit but it should not be too difficult for the sleuths of Calcutta police ' or the man's neighbours ' to figure out who he is. Although shown in profile, the man, interviewed in "a dark house in one of Calcutta's slums", has a full head of hair, fleshy lips, generous eyebrows ' and an utterly reasonable manner.

In the radio programme, the listener hears an English voiceover ' an approximate translation of his words. But in the television version, viewers hear his words mostly in Bengali and rely on English subtitles.

He is introduced by Antelava: "It took us weeks to set up a meeting with a man who sells women for a living.... He tells me he trafficks on average 200 girls a year and makes around $1,000 (Rs 54,000) on each. Most of them are around 12 to 13 years old."

Although the police deny involvement, the trafficker insists "he pays local politicians and individual policemen for their protection".

The trafficker says he has to have various forms signed by the police before he is cleared to take charge of the girls. "Pulish ke alada alada forme shoi korte hoi.... thana ke control korte hoi, Delhi hok, Calcutta hok, Haryana hok, Punjab hok ' somosto jaiga (the police have to sign various forms... I have to control police thanas in Delhi, Calcutta, Haryana, Punjab, all over the place.)"

(Police officers in Calcutta said today they were not aware of any forms that they need to sign.)

The trafficker begins by confiding, "Ami teente bari korechi Delhi-te (I have three houses in Delhi)," and how he sources the girls, "Meyeder ami pai gramer theke (I get the girls from the villages)."

Antelava found scarcely a village in the Sunderbans area where girls were not missing.

The trafficker goes on: "I explain nicely to the parents I will give the girls work. Often the parents themselves send us the girls so that they can get good jobs."

The report features the distressing case of a girl, now 18, who was abducted two years ago by neighbourhood men who tricked her into attending a fair where her soft drink was spiked. She ended up in a Delhi brothel where she was beaten and repeatedly raped. Thanks to the determination of her feisty mother, she was rescued but the family is now shunned by neighbours and their home has been stoned.

The man who was allegedly involved in kidnapping the girl is out on bail and threatening to throw acid on her face unless all charges are dropped, her mother tells the BBC.

It is apparent that trafficking is driven by the laws of supply and demand ' girls are abducted from Bengal to meet the critical shortage of women in Haryana and Punjab. The kidnapped girls are brought first to Calcutta, the BBC says, before they are sold to the highest bidder.

Antelava follows the case of another girl, aged 14, who ends up in Haryana from where she is rescued in a raid. But the woman who has "bought" her shows no sign of contrition and deftly removes the earrings she had given to the girl.

She does, inadvertently, put her finger on the underlying problem when she insists the girl was given to her son. "There aren't enough girls here ' many buy girls from outside."

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bowling worries for Super Kings

Bowling worries for Super Kings

After failing to defend a mammoth 205 against Kings XI Punjab, Chennai have a lot to think about. More »

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

The class act from Saurashtra may have to rethink his approach to the mannerless format. More »

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

The BCCI is likely to convene a special general body meeting (SGM) in May to replace N Srinivasan on the board's disciplinary committee. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Roach escapes injury after car crash

Roach escapes injury after car crash

The West Indies fast bowler lost control of his BMW sedan due to slippery road conditions in his native Barbados on Saturday. More »

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

The former CBI Director is one of the three candidates proposed by the BCCI to head the enquiry into the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. More »

Repose faith in Indian coaches

Repose faith in Indian coaches

All of them cost plenty of dollars which I feel is unnecessary for a two- month tournament, says former cricketer Yajurvindra Singh. More »

Cook relieved after period in limbo

Cook relieved after period in limbo

The England captain is looking forward to a fresh start after a dispiriting Ashes defeat last year. More »

[INTERVIEW] Jayawardene and Sangakkara

[INTERVIEW] Jayawardene and Sangakkara

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara go over their World T20 win, and feel grateful to have fans whose support remains unwavering in victory and de… More »

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

[T20 Newsline] Lacklustre Super Kings, fast-improving Sanju Samson and other news from IPL-7. More »

Aussie coach joins emerging Afghanistan

Aussie coach joins emerging Afghanistan

Peter Anderson has started work in Kabul as the fast-developing team prepare for their debut at next year's World Cup. More »

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

As Lanka's head coach decides to jump ship, euphoria over winning an ICC tournament has dissipated into fuistration. More »

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Sri Lanka's chief selector is upset at news of head coach Paul Farbrace's possible move to England. More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »