`Sold at Dawn': How 13YO Covid survivor became prey to sexual predators in Andhra, TS

It all started in June 2021, when the minor girl and her mother were tested COVID-19 positive and admitted to Government General Hospital, Guntur.

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  19 Feb 2022 3:42 AM GMT
`Sold at Dawn: How 13YO Covid survivor became prey to sexual predators in Andhra, TS

Andhra Pradesh: Shock, anger, and outrage have gripped Andhra Pradesh after a 13-year old Covid survivor was pushed into the flesh trade.

Police have so far arrested 64 people including 13 from Hyderabad.

It all started in June 2021, when the minor girl and her mother were tested COVID-19 positive and admitted to Government General Hospital, Guntur.

Main accused Swarna Kumari, who is into the sex trade, exploited the poverty of the family and pushed the girl into the flesh trade.

Posing as a nurse, Kumari convinced her father, a daily-wage laborer, to allow his daughter to stay with her. However, she pushed her into the flesh trade and supplied the girl to her clients in AP and Hyderabad.

"Swarna Kumari befriended the girl's father and took her home. When the girl's mother died due to COVID-19, Swarna Kumari convinced her father that she would take care of the girl. In fact, the girl used to call Swarna Kumari 'Amma'. The girl started sending her to men to earn money", said DSP K Supraja, investigating officer.

Not just Guntur, the girl was taken to Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Kakinada, Nellore, West Godavari districts for three months. It was in October, the girl managed to escape from Nellore and reached Vijayawada. Later Swarna Kumari informed the girl's father that she went to fetch Anandayya medicine in Nellore but did not return. A missing complaint was lodged with Nallapadu police in Guntur.

However, the girl's ordeal did not end here. She fell into the clutches of another sex worker. Seeing her wandering on road, Naga Lakshmi promised to drop her home. "The woman, however, took her to Tanuku, Tadepalli Gudem in West Godavari district for the sex trade. The girl was later handed over to another mother-daughter duo who were running sex racket", said DSP Supraja.

Mother-daughter posed as a savior just to lure the girl. The duo also tried to get a transfer certificate (TC) from the girl's school. As the school management refused, the duo blackmailed her father.

"The mother-daughter told her father that they are volunteers from the women protection department. They blamed the father for pushing the daughter into the sex trade. They even threatened to register a police case against him if he did not hand over her daughter", DSP added.

The girl luckily escaped and filed a complaint with the police station.

"During our investigation, we have zeroed in on organizers, customers, and pimps involved in the sex trade. Most of them are between 25 and 30 age group. A juvenile is also part of the racket. We also found a man from London who raped this girl during his visit to Hyderabad. The girl has gone through a lot of trauma," Supraja said.

Sources said sex traffickers in Andhra Pradesh exploit girls from low-income backgrounds, orphans, and others in a bid to push them into the flesh trade.

The accused have been booked under various sections of IPC, Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, and POCSO Act. They were produced before a court and remanded in custody. The investigation is still on. More arrests are likely.

Next Story
Share it