CHENNAI (Reuters) – Indian police are investigating the use of growth hormones in a sex trafficking case, following the arrest of eight people charged with exploitation of children in brothels in Telangana state.
Eleven girls, including four below age 7, were rescued from brothels in the temple town of Yadagirigutta where they were being groomed to become sex workers, a senior police officer said yesterday.
“The traffickers have confessed to us that they were giving hormone injections to the girls,” said Mahesh Bhagwat, an officer in the state capital of Hyderabad, about 70 km from Yadagirigutta.
“It is a clear case where we see that the girls were being groomed and injected with drugs to look older than their actual age,” he said by phone. “We are also looking for the doctor supplying drugs to the traffickers.”
The use of growth hormones, as well as drugs to sedate girls while they are being trafficked from one place to another, is rampant but rarely investigated, according to campaigners.
“In most rescues, we come across young girls who have been pumped with drugs to look older,” said Rishi Kant, of the anti-trafficking charity Shakti Vahini.
The eight traffickers arrested in Monday’s raids had paid families up to 200,000 Indian rupees ($2,917) for each girl, according to a police statement.
In other cases, they targeted young orphans.
The doctor supplying drugs to the brothels charged 25,000 rupees ($365) for each girl, the statement said.