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Money-lenders used to keep wives of borrowers in Dharavi: Maha

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Press Trust of India Mumbai
In an explosive claim, a top Maharashtra police officer on Tuesday said a practice of some money-lenders keeping wives of borrowers with them for a certain period in the event of "non-payment of debts or interest" had been once prevalent in Dharavi slum in Mumbai.
Addressing the students of St Andrew's College in suburban Bandra on the occasion of the "UN World Day Against Trafficking in Persons", Director General, Home Guards, Sanjay Pandey also said such a thing used to happen in Dharavi, the largest slum in Asia, located in central Mumbai.
The officer added that such prctice might still be alive.
The event was organised by Harmony Foundation.
"There are many people or groups once active in Dharavi who would lend amount of Rs 1-2 lakh. If they (borrowers) repay the loan or interest in time then there was no issue. But can you imagine what else they (borrowers) had to pay (in the event of default)? Can you guess? Borrowers used to trade their wives for a few days with lenders till they repay debt or interest.
"I am not talking about Tamil Nadu, Nepal or Bihar. This used to happen only 1.5 km away from here," he said.
Pandey, an IPS officer of the 1986 batch, had served as DCP in 1992 for the zone which covers Dharavi.
"I had arrested one person over this practice, but, unfortunately. This practice may be still prevalent," he told the gathering.
Pandey said a few laws had been introduced to tackle this type of human trafficking, which is a form of "slavery".
The IPS officer had won accolades from the Srikrishna Commission and later by Amnesty International for his work in controlling the 1993 Mumbai communal riots.
One of the speakers and great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Tushar Gandhi, said slave trade was a "sin" against humanity and "very heinous form of violence".
Cassandra Fernandes, who represents International Justice Mission (IJM) Mumbai in anti-trafficking cases, Abraham Mathai, the founder chairperson of Harmony Foundation, threw light on various aspects of human trafficking and sexual abuse.
"Contrary to faulty assumption that slavery ended in the 19th century, this atrocious crime continues to exist affecting millions of lives worldwide. Rather, this vile enterprise has successfully transformed itself into a contemporary form - slaves in invisible chains," Mathai added.

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First Published: Jul 30 2019 | 5:56 PM IST

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