A 17-year-old Kannadiga's presence of mind coupled with her knowledge of Hindi saved her from falling into flesh trade.
Sapna (name changed) was brought to the city from Awarti village in Karnataka by a female agent, Gauda, who promised her the job of an engineer's assistant.
Banking on the fact that Sapna did not understand Hindi, which she had been pretending not to because she had begun to doubt the agent's intentions, Gauda called up a someone from Mumbai Central station and began speaking in Hindi.
Sapna began crying when she heard Gauda trying to sell her for Rs. 10,000 and Gauda was arrested by the Nagpada Police after a bystander alerted them.
According to the police, Sapna, who was studying in Std XI, was forced to give up her studies and seek a job after her father passed away last month as the burden of taking care of her mother and younger brother fell on her shoulders.
A neighbour promised her a job in Bangalore with Rs. 5,000 as the monthly salary and Sapna left her village to take it up.
Sapna reached Bangalore last week and was searching for the company's office, when a man called Santosh befriended her. She told him about her background and the reasons to be in Bangalore. Upon hearing how much she would be paid for the job, Santosh promised to get her a job as an engineer's assistant in Mumbai, which would fetch her Rs. 10,000 per month.
Santosh said his sister's daughter needed the assistant and Sapna would have to leave with his sister, Gauda, for Mumbai that very night if she was interested.
On reaching Mumbai Central railway station Gauda asked Sapna if she knew Hindi, to which she replied in the negative.
Gauda then called someone and said, "Main ladki lekar aayi hoon. 10,000 mein bechungi." (I have have brought a girl and will sell her for Rs. 10,000.) Hearing this, Sapna started crying. People gathered around the duo but Gauda managed to convince them to disperse.
One of the bystanders, however, informed Sub-Inspector Sanjay Bhosale of the Nagpada police station of the incident.
A team led by Bhosale immediately reached the spot and took Gauda and Sapna for questioning from the Mumbai Central bus depot.
Gauda confessed to her crime and also led the police to Parvati Jangam alias Jelgamma (52), who was supposed to buy Sapna for her purpose.
"Gauda and Jelgamma would not have been arrested if Sapna had not known Hindi and had not pretended otherwise. She has been sent to the Dongri children's home," said Bhosale.
According to the police, Santosh is not Gauda's brother. Santosh, Gauda and another man, Kumar, are suspected of running a racket in south India. A manhunt has been launched for Santosh and Kumar.