Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
On 21 January 2021, a 12-year-old girl went missing from south-west Delhi, India, after which her mother reported the situation to local police.
Months later, on 15 March, following a police rescue, it was found the young girl had been kidnapped by four men who burnt her with cigarette butts and forced her into prostitution.
She was also raped by several other males known to the group.
Now, police fear there could be a wider prostitution scheme run by the four men.
All It Took Was A Piece of Cake: How Young Girl Came to Be Kidnapped
According to reports from The Indian Express, the 12-year-old girl was kidnapped when she went out to buy chips from a local supermarket.
The four kidnappers – two of them from her own neighbourhood – lured her to a house in the area on the ploy of offering her a piece of a birthday cake.
However, unbeknownst to the young girl, the cake was poisoned, and as a result, she quickly fell unconscious after eating it.
Following this, in order to coerce the girl into prostitution, they tortured her and fed her with drugs, the details of which are yet to be ascertained – according to local police.
Finally, once the girl succumbed to a position in which she was no longer able to challenge the men, she was pushed into prostitution.
It was at this stage that she was also raped by men in Delhi and Bihar.
According to police, a team from Rajouri Garden police station in west Delhi was trying to trace missing children when the 12-year-old girl’s name appeared.
Last month, the police team happened to get in touch with the girl’s mother and worked out that the girl was kidnapped by traffickers.
Eventually, the police used the communication between the mother and the kidnappers to chase an online trail left by the suspects.
On 16 March, months after the girl’s mother registered a kidnapping case at Kapashera police station, officers traced the girl to Majnu ka Tilla in North Delhi, where she was rescued by Delhi Police.
Two Men and Two Women Arrested Over Girl’s Kidnapping
Police arrested two men, 35-year-old Sanjay Rajput, and 21-year-old Anshu Sharma, and two women, 24-year-old Sapna Goyal and 28-year-old Kanika Roy over the alleged kidnapping and prostitution of the girl.
Following their arrest, an investigation by police was carried out which led to the discovery of text messages revealing that some men who were looking for young women were offered the 12-year-old girl and informed that she was a minor.
It is understood the prostitution gang dealt with their customers through WhatsApp and there were over 150 WhatsApp groups with a thousand customers from across India, according to reports from the Hindustan Times.
Now, police fear the prostitution ring run by the four people could be more widespread than initially considered.
As such, police are currently probing the ringleaders to work out whether they had kidnapped other children and also forced them into the sex trade.
Meanwhile, the identities of the men who allegedly raped the minor girl are also being ascertained – an issue complicated further by the fact that some of the men knew the girl was a minor.
A spokesperson from Delhi Police, Chinmoy Biswal, said local police as well as the crime branch, have been pursuing prostitution syndicates, particularly those suspected of trafficking women and minor girls.
“We also take every missing complaint related to children very seriously,” Mr Biswal said.
“Even this child was traced due to our constant efforts to trace all missing children.”
Kidnapping – the intentional holding of a person without that person’s consent – is a crime.
In NSW, the law on kidnapping is reflected in section 86 of the Crimes Act 1900.
This section states that a basic kidnapping offence takes place where a person takes or detains a person, without the person’s consent either with the intention of holding the person to ransom; or with the intention of committing a serious indictable offence; or with the intention of obtaining any other advantage.
Any such offence carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 14 years.
Additionally, where the kidnapping offence is aggravated, the maximum penalty a person can face is imprisonment for up to 20 years.
It will be considered ‘aggravated’ if the kidnapping occurs in company of another person or results in the victim sustaining actual bodily harm.
Where the kidnapping is specially aggravated, the maximum penalty a person can face is up to 25 years in jail.
It will be considered ‘specially aggravated’ is the offence occurs in company of another person and the victim sustains actual bodily harm as well.
Section 87 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) prescribes up to 10-years imprisonment for the offence of abducting a child who is aged less than 12-years. This offence occurs if a person, without consent, takes or detains a child with the intention of removing or keeping the child from the lawful control of a person who has parental responsibilities of the child.
The Defences to Kidnapping Charges
It is a defence to a Kidnapping allegation or charge if any one or more of the following defences apply:
- Duress or necessity
- The child is your child or you have parental responsibilities, provided it isn’t in breach of a court order
- The accused person did nothing to cause the child or alleged victim to accompany him/her. In addition, there was nothing done by the accused to cause the alleged victim to remain with him/her
- Mental illness defence
Questions on this topic of law? Speak to one of our experiences criminal lawyers in Parramatta today.