Pune: A sessions court on Wednesday sentenced a 39-year-old woman on charges of forcing a 19-year-old girl into prostitution, wrongful confinement and running a brothel. The court sentenced her to one year of rigorous punishment. The woman worked as a brothel manager in Budhwar Peth, Pune’s red-light area.
The girl who was a teenager was coerced into working at the brothel as a commercial sex worker in July 2017. She escaped with the assistance of a customer who sent her letter to the Police Commissioner. The rescue operation was carried out by the social security cell of the crime branch which raided the brothel. Yasmin Movin Siddiqui, the brothel manager, was arrested during the raid by the police.
Siddiqui was booked by the Pune Police under the relevant sections of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act for trafficking, and wrongfully confining a woman against her will for commercial sex work. Further, she was charged under Section 370(2), 370-A(2) and 344 of the Indian Penal Code. However, the prosecution could only prove in court the charges under immoral trafficking.
The trial found that the woman had been originally from Kolkata and sold in Pune’s Budhwar Peth. The court heard the testimonies of nine witnesses including the survivors. The survivor identified Siddiqui and alleged that she asked the girls to call her ‘Badi mummy’ and did not allow the girls to step outside the premises of the brothel.
However, the defence argued that Yamin was only employed as a house help in the brothel. They commented, “Siddiqui was employed as a house help at the brothel and had no inkling of the prostitution racket.” They further alleged that Siddiqui was taken as a scapegoat since the police were unable to locate the owner during the raid.
The judged during the final sentencing remarked, “Though the punishment for these offences is short, such crimes need to be curbed for the betterment of society.”