A 12-year-old girl kidnapped from Delhi's northeast in 2006 returned home last week after being sold twice and raped by several men in the past 10 years.
Her mother, who had lost all hopes of seeing her daughter again, couldn't recognise her when she showed up at her doorstep, reports Hindustan Times.
Her family paid countless visits to the police station for the first five years but gave up later assuming her to be dead. Even after her return, they had to reach out to the police several times before a woman police officer finally visited them on Tuesday and took the girl for medical examination.
“My child went missing on July 2, 2006, from Khajuri area, but the FIR on kidnapping was registered years later, on September 9, 2006. I wrote multiple letters to senior police officers, but there was no response. After my daughter returned, I went to the Khajuri police station several times, but in vain,” her mother told Indian Express.
The woman, now 22-year-old, recounted her ordeal since the day she went missing “A woman and a man abducted me… they took me to Ambala and sold me to a man for Rs 30,000. Later, I was sold to another man for Rs 40,000… he and another man raped me. I tried to escape but they caught me… after that, I was raped by many more men.”
She said she was “sold and re-sold” at least eight times, and raped by over 30 men. “In 2009, I was sold to a 50-year-old truck driver, who forced me to get married to him,” she said. Her 'husband' died two years later. “My life became miserable after that. His family threw me out. I had to struggle for food and shelter. When I went to the police station to complain, his relatives claimed I was mentally ill.” reports Indian Express.
The woman, who suffered enormous sexual and physical abuse at the hands of her assaulters, recalled how she was callously tormented each time she resisted or tried to escape.
"When she retaliated, she was attacked with knives and rods. Her body has multiple injury marks and it seems that she has been brutally assaulted over these 10 years. She also claimed to have suffered burn injuries inflicted by cigarettes," police told India Today.
The woman after being let out had only vague memories of her home and returned to Ambala instead, where she met a woman who took her to Siliguri in West Bengal. She worked at a dance bar before the woman finally helped her to return home.
Police said that the case has been re-opened and further investigations are on. “A case of kidnapping registered in 2006 was declared unsolved. Now that the victim is back, we will reopen the case and bust the human trafficking racket,” DCP AK Singla told HT.