The Delhi Police on Tuesday arrested eight people allegedly involved in a child trafficking racket and booked them under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. The accused include a couple, Saira Begum and Aafaq Hussain, who controlled the operations along with their aides out of an office on GB Road, ANI reported.

They are believed to have trafficked more than 5,000 girls from Nepal and remote pockets of Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and other states. The perpetrators reportedly bought the girls for Rs 50,000 and sold them for Rs 2 lakh, making around Rs 100 crore in total from the illegal trade. Police said the younger girls were sold for a higher price, according to India Today.

A police officer said Begum controlled the "extremely organised racket". "Such unchecked, interstate movement of girls is not possible without an active organised crime syndicate behind it," the officer said. Other officials said Begum and Hussain started with one centre in GB Road but owned at least four now. The police are confident that they can convict the pair as they had enough evidence against them, including statements from trafficked girls.

The other six accused include their driver Ramesh, chief manager Vasu, and handlers Samshad, Shilpi, Mumtaz and Puja Thapa. They have been sent to judicial custody till September 2. Begum had been convicted in seven cases since 1990 and Hussain in three. The duo had been named in two chargeheets related to rape, trafficking, criminal conspiracy and abduction, among other charges, in March this year.