Source AP ©

Indian job agency ran baby-selling business

Indian authorities have arrested a woman suspended of running a fake employment agency that organized the rape of young women and sold their newborns to childless couples, police said Monday.

Preeti and her husband Vinod, who both go by one name, ran a job agency in the Indian capital, New Delhi, offering maids to families, said Rajan Bhagat, a spokesman for the city police.

The couple allegedly lured young women and girls aged under 18 years through the agency with promises of work, but instead confined them to a small room where they were raped to make them pregnant, Bhagat told The Associated Press. Their children were subsequently sold to childless couples, he said.

Police arrested Preeti on Sunday on charges of rape, kidnapping, threat to life and wrongful confinement and were hunting for Vinood, Bhagat said.

The scandal emerged when the CNN-IBN television news channel ran a story on the agency.

Most of the girls lured to the agency came from poor families in east Indian states including Bihar and Jharkhand. Womens' rights groups say thousands of poverty-striken women and girls are trafficked every year after being lured from villages to cities on false promises of jobs or marriages.

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