Child trafficking: Two children escape abductors after 3 years
GUJRANWALA: Police officials recovered a sixteen-year-old boy, who had run away from home four years ago and had been kidnapped by a human trafficking gang.
On Monday evening, 16-year-old Ilm Ahmed was brought to the Civil Lines Police by several local residents. “We told the police that the boy didn’t know who he was and that he had been asking for his parents. He has clearly been drugged because he could barely walk straight,” Mungi Badlian resident Asad Zulfiqar told police.
Police officials questioned the boy and discovered that four years ago he ran away from home fearing that his father would scold him. “He told us that he broke a water jug and feared that his father would beat him so he ran away,” SHO Fazal Ahmed Surah said.
“He told us that he was abducted by a trafficking gang and locked in a room for several years. He said there were other children there too. He does not know where he lived before he was kidnapped,” he said.
“All I remember is that they would feed us something that made us sleepy all the time. There were lots of children there.
Everyone came and went. We were tied up and sometimes the men would come in and take a child. After several hours he or she would be brought back and they were covered with bandages,” Ahmed told police.
“He said that the men always kept their faces covered and that some of the children were never seen again and others recovered,” the SHO said.
Ahmed told police that three days ago a woman woke him up after fajr prayers and quietly helped him escape. “At the time there were three other people in the room. A young girl and boy and an older girl,” he said. Ilm said that the woman dug out a hole in the wall from the outside and removed the bricks to help him escape. “She gave me Rs200 and said I should board a wagon and get as far away as I could,” he said. “I don’t know where I landed or where I am from,” he said.
“The boy remembers that his father’s name is Noor Muhammad and we suspect he is from here because of the way he speaks. Right now we have sent him and another girl to the Child Protection Bureau (CPB) offices until we can investigate the matter,” the SHO said.
Surah said that a day after recovering Ahmed, locals also brought another young girl to the police station. “He told us that she was with him when he was locked up and the girl recognised him. She confirmed his story but she knew nothing else. She is only seven and was also drugged,” he said.
Police officials said that a doctor had checked both the children and confirmed that they were drugged. “They are barely coherent and cannot remember anything. They have probably been drugged daily and are severely malnourished,” DHQ Hospital attending Dr Khalid Niazi said.
Both children are currently being housed with the local CPB office. Police officials are currently investigating into the location of the den where both children were housed but said that they had no leads.
“We definitely suspect it is a trafficking network but if the children escaped they have probably relocated,” Surah said.