FAISALABAD: Seven girls, one chained, were recovered from a house in street no 5 of Sakhi Sarwarabad area on Monday after the mother of one of the girls and local residents broke into the house and released them.
Shehla*, who is originally from Itehadabad area in Chungi Ammar Sadhu, Lahore, told The Express Tribune that a brothel was being run at the house by her husband Shoaib Ahmed, Nafeesa, who managed the business, and Anwar, Shoaib’s driver, a Bhai Pheru resident.
She had contacted her mother this Sunday and told her where the brothel was located. Shela had married Ahmed, her cousin, a year-and-a-half ago and had since been kept chained inside the house. She said that Ahmed tried to force her into prostitution and chained her inside the house when she refused. She said that Ahmed regularly beat her up.
Anwar was captured by the residents and handed over to the Millat Town police station. Shoaib Ahmed and Nafeesa were not present when the raid took place. The girls have been handed over to the local women’s police station.
Millat Town police have registered a case against Ahmed, Anwar and Nafeesa under Section 371-A and B of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of Shehla’s mother. She stated that the three were keeping her daughter against her will and forced her into prostitution. Other girls included Ahmed’s first wife, also a cousin. Shehla said that she was aware of Ahmed’s first marriage when she married him last year. Her mother said that she was a widow and could not afford to keep Shehla with her for long so she agreed to her marriage with Ahmed.
The remaining girls had been brought from Lahore, Chiniot and Rajana. Talking to The Express Tribune, these girls said that they were forced into prostitution due to their poverty. They said that they came from a very poor background and had no other means to support their families. The girls will be presented in the court on Wednesday.
The residents alleged that the Millat Town police was aware of the brothel.
They said that the police usually raided the place but never made any arrest. On residents’ complaints, the senior superintendent of police, Shaukat Abbas, has formed an inquiry committee headed by the Madina Town police station superintendent Abid Dogar. The team will investigate the alleged role of the Millat Town police station.
The police said that Anwar, during investigations, said that he was just a driver and did what he was told, including dropping and picking the girls from houses in Faisalabad.
The police said that Ahmed had rented the house from Ali Bahadur. The police have included him in the investigation as well and are looking for Shoaib Ahmed and Nafeesa.
The area residents said that they had made several complaints about the business, but the police never responded to their complaints. They said that Ahmed and Anwar used to take a couple of girls out every night. They came back at around 4am and 5am in the morning. Anwar lived at the house while Ahmed made regular visits.
The residents alleged that they were arrested by the police a number of times but were released after payment of bribes.
*Name has been changed to protect the victim’s identity.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2010.