A girl who was forced into sex work five years ago was rescued by police from Patuakhali town on Tuesday night.
The victim, 17, was rescued after she went to visit a Puja mandap in Notunbazar, which was near the house she was kept in by the leader of a prostitution ring -- Lipi Begum, police said quoting the victim.
Lipi had sent another sex worker to keep an eye on the victim. At one stage, the girl escaped and took a battery-run rickshaw towards a launch terminal, police said.
Another sex worker spotted and caught her. After the victim started screaming, locals rushed to the spot and informed police.
Md Hanif, sub-inspector of Patuakhali police station, said, “After being informed, we rushed to the spot, rescued her from Women’s College Road and brought her to the police station. We already asked her parents to come. Until then, she will stay here.”
Speaking to journalists at the station, the victim said she was forced into prostitution when she was in class three. Earlier, she used to live with her family in the district’s Kalapara upazila.
“One day, my mother’s sister took me to Patuakhali town saying she was going to visit a doctor and she wanted me to accompany her. Once we reached, she left me at the Patuakhali bus stand. A man then came and told me he will take me back to my aunt but he took me to the house of Lipi Begum, the leader. I had been staying there ever since,” she said.
She further said, “I want to stay with my family if they allow me to, adding, “Otherwise, I will go to Narayanganj where my father’s sister lives.”
The victim said she was sold to prostitution by her mother’s sister and used to be frequently tortured at Lipi’s house where she worked.
Speaking to The Daily Star over phone, the victim’s mother said she received a call from Patuakhali police about her daughter.
“After my sister had come back from Patuakhali town those many years ago, she told me my daughter was lost from the bus stand. We searched for her for many days, but we never informed the police for fear of social stigma.”
The victim’s parents will go to Patuakhali police station tomorrow to bring their daughter back.
Contacted, Md Mostafizur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Patuakhali police station, said, “If her parents file a case in this regard, we will investigate the incident and take proper steps.”