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Runaway minor falls prey to sexual abuse

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CHILDLINE 1098 Service » 1098 News » Runaway minor falls prey to sexual abuse

A large number of runaway children fall victim to sexual abuse. Such upsetting incidents and appalling statistics are increasing by the day. In a recent intervention, CHILDLINE Ratlam helped seek justice for a 16 year old girl who suffered from a similar adversity.

Runaway minor falls prey to sexual abuse

CHILDLINE Ratlam received a call from Mr. Jagdish Siram, Thana Incharge of Salakhedi Chowki informing them that a 16 year old girl had been left at the police station in a distraught state. On hearing this, the CHILDLINE team rushed to the police station to talk to the child and took her to the civil hospital where her medical examination was done.

The next day a counselor spoke to the child. The child was scared and in hushed tones began narrating her story. She told the counselor that her name was Ritu and that she lived in a small village near Amritsar. On further probing, the girl said that her parents had passed away when she was very little and that she had a brother in Amritsar whose mobile number she gave to the counselor. Ritu lived with her paternal uncle and aunt who had adopted her after the death of her parents. However, her uncle and aunt were not too kind to her and did not allow Ritu to continue her education. She was forced to be at home and help with the household work. Upset with such situations at home, Ritu decided to run away and come to Mumbai. She took a bus from her village to Delhi and from here she boarded a train to Mumbai. During the journey Ritu met Basantibai in the train who lured her into providing her with a good job, food, a home to stay and also admission in one of the top schools. Ritu was carried away with all these dreams and went with Basantibai to her home in Ratlam. Initially she was kept well but as time passed Ritu was ill-treated by Basantibai and her son Arujn. Ritu was not allowed to go out of the house and was treated like a servant by the mother-son duo. To add to his, Arjun had sexually assaulted Ritu on several occasions on the pretext of marrying her. As the days passed, people in the neighborhood noticed Ritu on a regular basis and questioned Basantibai about her. As the suspicions from the community members increased a worried Basantibai dropped Ritu at the police station and fled off.

After describing her 2 month ordeal to the counselor, Ritu was produced in front of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) so that appropriate steps could be taken for her rehabilitation. Her brother, Jasmit, was contacted on the mobile number Ritu had shared with the counselor. On hearing about Ritu’s whereabouts, Jasmit said that the family was trying to locate her for the past two months and was very happy to know that she was safe with CHILDLINE. He immediately packed his things and left for Ratlam to meet his little sister and take her home.

Soon after the CWC members and a CHILDLINE Coordinator visited the Superintendent of Police and informed him about Ritu’s case. Ritu’s statement was taken immediately by the concerned police officers and she was then taken for an identification process. The CWC ordered CHILDLINE to keep the child with them till her family comes to pick her up. After two days, Ritu was presented in front of the Magistrate, who took her statement again. Based on Ritu’s statement and the reports from her medical examination, Arjun and his mother Basantibai were taken in legal custody.

On reaching Ratlam, Ritu’s brother, Jasmit, was also presented in front of the CWC for verification of facts and documents as well as to give an official statement. Once all the legal formalities and investigations were carried out, Ritu was handed over to her brother. CHILDLINE Ratlam team has been constantly in touch with Ritu. Today she is back home and is trying to forget the past and move on with her life.

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