'Spices of India' flesh trade probe intensifies

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{image-human+trafficking-new_13102008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Kuala Lumpur, Oct 13: Following the latest rescue of five young Indian tribal women from Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian, Singaporean and Indian authorities have intensified a joint probe into the flesh trade identifying the Indian women as 'Spices of India'.

The women's rescue had led to the arrest of several vice kingpins in the three countries. A senior diplomat here described the Indian women as 'exotic' and having 'pure' qualities, who, she said, were in great demand from wealthy clients here. According to nstonline.com, senior diplomatic and law enforcement officials of the three countries acknowledged that investigations had intensified following the latest rescue of five Indian women here, leading to the arrest of several vice kingpins in the three countries.

Indian High Commission counselor Sudhir Kumar Mehrotra said that as many as 150 women from Manipur, Assam and Nagaland were believed to have been duped by recruitment agents in recent months. The agents took advantage of many ignorant and destitute families in Manipur's backward districts, like Tamenglong, promising them a way out of poverty. Instead, the women ended up broke.

The Manipur Police are believed to have made several arrests, including that of Philip Gangmei and Vicky Kungo, in Imphal on Sept 23. There were another three arrests on Oct 3.

Singapore and Malaysian Police are believed to be hot on the trail of another man, believed to be the mastermind of a Singapore-based 'recruiting firm'.

Earlier this month, Indian authorities intercepted another five of the women in Dimapur. They were about to be shipped to Singapore via Kolkata. A third group of 15 young women from Punjab state were rescued by temple priests in Kuala Lumpur and repatriated last month, said the sources.

"We believe the girls rescued are just the tip of the iceberg. There could be many more victims from other Indian states," said a diplomat, and added that the Indian tribal women from small villages were being sought for their 'exotic' and 'pure' qualities as there was demand for them from wealthy clients at posh city nightspots.

The case came to light when one of the five women from Manipur and Assam escaped from a Kuala Lumpur nightclub, where they had been 'dumped' after their arrival from Singapore last month. The woman, who escaped on Sept 17, alerted the Indian High Commission in Jalan Duta, which then sought the assistance of police to rescue the other four.

ANI

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