Lahore police men stand near a gate during an on going investigation. — File Photo

LAHORE: Shafiqabad police claim to have arrested a gang of human traffickers and recovered from their custody 15 children, including the son of a policeman, who were to be smuggled to other provinces for Rs100,000 each.

The arrested criminals had been running the monkey business for the last couple of years in the city.

A source said the gang had smuggled several children in the past to owners of hotels, factories and landlords. The children were mostly smuggled to Sindh, Balochistan and some areas of the Punjab province after brainwashing in a rented house on Mohni Road in Lahore. The smuggled children were forced to labour unpaid by their new masters.

The initial investigation revealed that the children were prepared for their next assignments and had almost forgotten their families, the source said, adding they were picked by gangsters from Lorry Adda, railway station and the Data Sahib’s shrine.

Aged between eight and 10 years, the children included Tajamul, Arman, Allah Baksh, Ghulam Yasin, Zeshan, Rafique and Shahzad.

The criminals, including Razzaq alias Jaka and Imran of Jaranwala, Fawad of Faisalabad and Nazir of Lahore, were arrested on the information provided by a milkman of Mohni Road after he observed some mysterious activities in the rented house.

A police team headed by Shafiqabad Circle DSP Anwar Saeed Kingra and SHO Farooq raided there and arrested the alleged human traffickers.

During the interrogation, ringleader Jaka revealed he had sent 30 children to various districts of two provinces for Rs100,000 each about a month back. Of them one each was sold in Jaranwala, Samundari and three in Faisalabad while the rest of them were sent to other provinces. He said his other accomplices were visiting the public places to pick more children to complete another consignment of 30 children which were to be smuggled to different areas of the country within a couple of weeks.

Zeshan, 15, who was among the recovered children, was handed over to his father Ghulam Shabbir who was serving as a sub-inspector in Karachi. He had left his Karachi residence after a family dispute and was picked by human traffickers when he visited the shrine of Hazrat Ali Hajveri (RA).

The police lodged a case against the arrested criminals under Section 342 of the PPC and under Section 23-24 of the Child Protection Act. — Staff Reporter

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