Bengaluru Sessions Court convicts 28-year-old accused for trafficking for forced labour

In 2013, 5 women between the ages of 19 to 21 years were rescued from 9 months of bonded labour at a construction site at, Chokkanahalli, Bengaluru. They had been trafficked from Bastar District in the state of Chattisgarh on the promise of being paid Rs. 4000 per month. However, contrary to what they were promised, they were paid only Rs. 200 - 400 per month, had no access to proper food and were frequently abused physically by the trafficker, who is also the sub-contractor of the construction site.

When the Superintendent of Police in Bastar received information of this incidence of trafficking and bonded labour, he immediately brought it to the notice of Shri. Amit Kataria, the then IAS Collector of the Bastar district. This led to a team of government officials, comprising the Revenue Inspector, the Sub-Inspector, the Labour Sub-Inspector and the P.O being formed, with the directive to visit Bengaluru and the surrounding areas to plan the operation to rescue the 5 trafficked women. A letter from the DC of Chattisgarh addressed to the Collector of Bengaluru was despatched, leading to the rescue and the enquiry process.

Concerted collaboration between the Chattisgarh and Bengaluru officials led to the rescue in August 2013, after which all the victims were repatriated to their villages in Bastar district. This rescue was conducted a few months after Section 370 IPC was amended in May 2013. The complaint was filed by the Deputy Tahsildar of Bengaluru, invoking Section 370 of IPC. The chargesheet was filed on 01/07/2014 within a span of 11 months and the trial commenced on 29/11/14.

In December 2019, the additional City and Civil Sessions Court convicted the now 28-year-old for trafficking 5 women from Bastar district for forced labour in Bengaluru. He was sentenced to 7 years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000. All proactive official witnesses testified in this case with strong evidences. Though several attempts were made by the Investigating Officer, Kothanur Police Station to trace the survivors, they were not able to be present for the trial. The accused was arrested, convicted under Section 370 of the IPC and was sent to judicial custody on the same day.