Three human traffickers, including two women, were arrested early on Friday in Manipur when they were transporting three tribal women to Thailand, police said.
The arrests have exposed the flourishing international human trafficking trade in the northeast, the police said.
The rescued women, hailing from poor families in Churachandpur district, are aged between 19 and 27 years.
The women traffickers, Esther Lalpianmoi and Lalngalomi, both 32, were arrested along with driver Lunkhosat Haokip (31) at 2.30 a.m. when they were taking the women towards Moreh, the town on the border with Myanmar. The three are in police custody.
Churachandur district’s Superintendent of Police Rakesh Balwal said: “We had received information that some women would be taken towards the border. Two women sub-inspectors of the anti-human trafficking unit laid multiple traps.”
“We have learnt that the women were to be handed over to foreign agents at Moreh from where they would be taken to Thailand. They were to be sold as sex workers,” Balwal said.
Human traffickers pay money and tell the poor parents in the northeastern states that their daughters would be given lucrative jobs in foreign countries. But they were forced into flesh trade, he said.
The traffickers told the police that they had paid Rs 10,000 each to the parents of the three women with the promise of Rs 90,000 each more once they return from Moreh.
They had assured the parents that their daughters would be employed in Thailand.
Officials said this is not the first case and that many girls from the northeastern states have been lured to foreign countries for flesh trade.
Some years ago, three girls in Manipur told reporters that they were taken to Singapore but managed to return by collecting money from some helpful tourists.
They said: “There are many other girls from northeast who could not escape from the clutches of the traffickers.”
Some women traffickers were also nabbed earlier while transporting girls to Chennai. However, till date no women trafficker has been convicted.