Dances with Wolves: Promised office jobs but asked to dance in a bar
The names of the victims have been changed to protect their identity. Riya Varma (27), a resident of Amritsar in Punjab, Monica (23), a resident of Sarita Vihar in South Delhi and Ankita (21), a resident of Fatehgarh in Uttar Pradesh were searching for jobs in Delhi since they had been laid off during the lockdown. They had been employed in the service industry, working in salons and in hotels. Two women who identified themselves as Divya and Pooja contacted the three women and offered them jobs in Bengaluru as front office executives for a decent salary. They were given flight tickets to fly down to Bengaluru to start their jobs, said the police.
On December 21, when the trio reached Bengaluru, they were taken to a flat in
The next day, the three women were taken to their ‘workplace’. The women thought they were being taken to the place where they would have to work as receptionists or front office staff, but to their horror, they had been offloaded at Minchu Bar and Restaurant in Gandhinagar. And the women who accompanied them asked them to dance in front of the drunk patrons who were throwing currency notes at them. When the three girls refused to dance and argued that they were from decent families hired for front office jobs, the employers took them back to the flat. When the girls refused to continue working for them and asked to be sent home, they were told they could go back if they returned the money incurred towards flight tickets, food and accommodation. The total amount came to Rs 2 lakh, they were told.
A large number of people have been laid off from the service industry and they’re looking for new jobs in other towns. Sometimes they are cheated by employers who are into trafficking women
— A senior police officer
The police have identified the men and women who employed the girls as Sunil, Laxman, Vikki, Divya, Pooja and Nikki Kumari.
The three women were then locked inside a room in their flat for three days – from December 23 to December 25 — and their phones and belongings were confiscated.
It was only due to the quick thinking of one of the girls that they escaped an unfortunate fate.
On the third day, Riya asked one of the women who had employed them, to give her the phone so that she could arrange for the money. When she got the phone, Riya ran into the bathroom, locked the door and dialled 100.
The message was flashed to the West Division police and ACP Kengerigate subdivision and UD Krishnakumar took up the distress call. He asked his men to surround the flat so that no one escaped. The police team reached the flat and rescued the three women, but only Sunil — a native of Mandya — was arrested. The police detained Divya, Pooja and Nikki Kumar from whom they managed to recover money. After the victims’ statements were recorded, the police learnt that they were well-educated girls who were saved in the nick of time from being trafficked.
The three were later sent back to Delhi in a train and the police team traced two other men, Laxman and Vikki, and arrested them later.
“A large number of people have been laid off from the service industry and they’re looking for