In a fillip to efforts towards rehabilitating hapless victims of immoral trafficking, a judicial magistrate at Nilakottai in Dindigul district on Tuesday night permitted the repatriation of an 18-year-old Nepali girl, who was arrested by from a brothel in Batlagundu on July 29.

The repatriation was ordered on the basis of a judgment passed by the Madras High Court in 2007. Expressing concern over increasing instances of trafficking in women, the First Bench, comprising the then Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice K. Chandru, had laid down elaborate guidelines on rehabilitating them.

The Judges held that women/girls apprehended from brothels should be treated as victims of trafficking and not as accused. Disagreeing with the practice of lodging them in prisons, they directed the police and magistrates to send them back to their families after ensuring social acceptance and family support.

In the present case, the Nepali girl was arrested along with five others and remanded to judicial custody in a sub-jail at Nilakottai. Immediately, the Foundation for Human Rights and Development (FOHRD), a non-governmental organisation, here filed a case in the Madras High Court Bench here to shift the girls to a rehabilitation home.

Accordingly, the girls were ordered to be shifted to a private home here. Thereafter, S. Syed Ahmed, Managing Trustee of FOHRD, got in touch with the parents of the Nepali girl with the assistance of Maiti Nepal, also an NGO, and made arrangements for reuniting her with her family members.

He filed another petition in the Madurai Bench and obtained a direction to the magistrate to take steps for repatriation of the girl, whose elder brother had come down to India along with two representatives of the Nepali NGO. A few philanthropists had come forward to sponsor their travel expenses.

"The Nepali girl has been brought to India by her distant relative on the promise of securing a job. She was sold to an agent in Calcutta for Rs.1.25 lakh and then shifted hands ultimately landing at Batlagundu. Agents pay such huge sum for want of fair-skinned girls and the risk involved in bringing them across the border," said Mr. Ahmed.

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