Twenty-five teenagers from Nepal, who were being taken to Sikkim by a group of traffickers, were recently rescued by the police from the highway in the Matigara Thana area in Darjeeling district, police officials told The Hindu on Friday.
“We had received information on a possible case of trafficking, and so the bus in which these boys were being taken was intercepted. In the raid, we found 25 boys from Nepal being taken to Gangtok by three traffickers,” Kunal Agarwal, the Superintendent of Police of Darjeeling district, told The Hindu on the telephone.
The police haven't been able to ascertain what work the boys were going to be assigned, but the children revealed that their parents had been assured that they would be given jobs. The boys didn't even know where they were being taken. They had taken the bus at Panitanki, near the India-Nepal border, Mr. Agarwal said. They were aged between 14 and 18 years. Among the group of 25 boys, six were more than 18 years old, but they were all very young, he added. They were rescued on Wednesday.
“The three persons accompanying them claim to run a placement agency, for which they had recruited them. All three of them are Bengalis. We are trying to find out the remaining persons who may have been involved in the operations,” Mr. Agarwal said.
Mr. Agarwal said that while the region acts as a corridor for human trafficking to all parts of the country, finding so many victims in a single raid was a major success.
“We are working with the West Bengal police to see if we can find out the operatives of this gang in Sikkim,” said Jasbir Singh, the Director General of Police of Sikkim.
Mr. Singh said that the Sikkim police frequently come across cases of girls from the State being trafficked to different parts of the country. The police also often conduct raids on places that recruit minors, but such a case of children being trafficked into the State was less common.