A court in Bihar has sentenced to life two brothel owners for trafficking, raping and sexually abusing children, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported on Wednesday.
The couple, Pancho Singh and his wife Chhaya Devi, allegedly ran a brothel in Gaya’s Sarai locality. Prosecutor Sunil Kumar said they were convicted and given the maximum punishment under anti-trafficking laws because of evidence from “brave survivors”.
The Gaya court heard testimonies from four of the nine girls, who the police rescued from the brothel in 2015, when a case was registered against the couple at the Kotwali Police Station.
On Wednesday, they were found guilty under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act and the Indian Penal Code, The Telegraph reported.
“In most cases, once the girls are rescued, they go home and never come back to testify,” Kumar told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “But here, some of the girls came back and described in detail the horrors they had been through. They told the court about forced abortions, the rapes and how some girls had even committed suicide.”
Among those who testified in court was a teenager from Howrah in West Bengal. The prosecutor said she was kidnapped when she was 11 and forced to have sex with at least 20 men a day for the three years. It was after she spotted one of the two traffickers at a railway station that the couple were arrested. She won a bravery award in 2017.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Sachchidanand Singh, who handed out the sentence, said the four girls who testified should be given compensation of Rs 4,50,000 each as a recognition of their bravery. The sentence said the other girls should be given Rs 3,00,000 each.