Hyderabad: The Cyberabad police anti-trafficking unit busted a major interstate and international human trafficking network by arresting 18 people involved in 39 cases, including major organisers and the manager of the Radisson Hotel at Hitec City.
According to the police, the accused forced women from various cities and countries into sex trafficking via websites and social media. The racket was responsible for 70 per cent of prostitution cases in Cyberabad and Hyderabad. Officials said the human trafficking network had lured 14,190 victims into prostitution.
The racket was primarily run from Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai via call centres and WhatsApp groups, with approximately 300 organisers from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, and other countries including Russia, Uzbekistan, and Thailand.
According to Cyberabad police commissioner Stephen Raveendra, the operation lasted more than two months and involved the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of the Cyberabad police, as well as other Special Operations Team and local police.
The main accused, who used several aliases, including Mohammed Adeem, Arnav, Arora, and Nikhil, ran a ring out of Cyberabad, Rachakonda, and Hyderabad, supplying approximately 950 girls from Mumbai, Kolkata, and Delhi, as well as selling MDMA to customers, Raveendra said.
Similarly, Rishi alias Mohd Abdul Salman, had over six years supplied approximately 900 victims. He was an absconding criminal in Madhapur police case.
Rishi forced foreigners into sex work in major Indian cities as well as in Russia, Uzbekistan, and Thailand, Ravindra said. The police seized 34 smartphones, a keypad phone, three cars, a laptop and 2.5 grams of MDMA from the accused.
The other accused were identified as Mohammad Sameer, 27, Harbhinder Kaur alias Simran Kaur alias Anika, 29, Mohammed Salman Khan, 23, Mohd. Abdul Kareem, 36, Rakesh Chandra Sharma, manager of Radisson hotel, Hitec City, Yerasani Jogeshwar Rao, 37, Nadimpally Saibabu Goud alias Lucky, 33, Shailendra Prasad alias Saleem, 44, Mohd Afsar alias Sahil, 42, Pasupuleti Gangadhari, 33, Mohd Fayaz alias Vinod Kumar, 29, Vishnu alias Sharanappa, 39, Sai Sudheer alias Sai, 27, Kodi Srinivas alias Ram Kumar, 49, Alisam alias Abdul Rafeq Khan, 31, and Sarbeshwar Rout, 27.
Gangadhari, Mohd Fayaz, Sharanappa, and Sai Sudheer ran call centres out of Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, and Bengaluru.
Forty cases had been filed at the Cyberabad and Hyderabad commissionerates against the organisers, and a majority of them are on the run.
During the two-month joint operation, the Cyberabad police units gathered information on the victims. "Based on this, we formed special teams and arrested Salman from Suncity on November 15," Raveendra said. “Following a thorough interrogation, information about the organisers in Hyderabad was revealed, and we began tracking them down.”
He said police arrested Adeem and Harbhinder Kaur in Somajiguda on November 18. “Five more organisers were apprehended, and using their WhatsApp groups and contacts, we gathered a list of others from all over India, including victims' suppliers, agents making advertisements and posting on social media, call centres and website owners, fake SIM card providers, persons who were making fake Aadhaar cards, and so on," said the Cyberabad police commissioner.
"Sameer is a drug addict who was later joined by Arnav. Sofin Patel was supplying them with MDMA with the help of Guddu Ali Sam. In 2019, Sameer established his own ring and used approximately 20 hotels for prostitution, supplying about 850 victims into prostitution from various states, primarily from Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi,” Raveendra said.
He said, Salman alias Vivek worked as a concierge at a hotel in Somajiguda for a year until 2017, and then he worked at another hotel at the reception and as a one-touch and concierge until 2019, while the victims stayed in the hotel, before becoming a full-fledged organiser in August 2020.
"Jogeswar Rao and Saibabu Goud have been involved in this racket for 12 years and supplied approximately 2,500 victims into prostitution from various states. We obtained important organisers' phone numbers during the investigation,” Raveendra said.
Shailendra Prasad, who has been in the racket for 15 years, ran a call centre and brought in approximately 1,800 victims. Mohd. Afsar was involved in the racket for 16 years and had organised for 1,750 victims. “He is addicted to horse racing and betting," Raveendra said.
The accused in this case were well-known organisers who were previously arrested in Immoral Trafficking Prevention (ITP) Act cases in Madhapur, Raidurgam, Gachibowli, Kukatpally, KPHB, Miyapur, Sanathnagar, S R Nagar, Abids, and Bowenpally police stations.