Pastor Who Ran Orphanage Has Been Arrested in Trafficking Investigation

Published 06 November 2017  |  
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Pastor Gideon Jacob, 62, the founder of Mose Ministries children's home in Tiruchy, was arrested on Saturday and charged under trafficking and juvenile justice laws.

A pastor accused of trafficking girls through a Christian-run orphanage was arrested in Chennai on Oct. 28 by police. Authorities had taken over the orphanage two years ago during an investigation into the unregistered children's home.

Pr Gideon Jacob, founder of Germany-based Christian Initiative (1989) for India that runs the Moses Ministries home in Tiruchy, was arrested after he arrived from Germany and he has been charged under trafficking and juvenile justice laws, the police said.

The home, that housed 89 children, had no proper records of the children. The probe team has rescued all the children from alleged infanticide from Usilampatti in neighboring Madurai.

Now, all the children are aged 18 years and above.

"We have been counseling the girls, who have known no other life since they were babies," said Kuppanna Gounder Rajamani, Tiruchy district head.

"We have also identified the parents willing to take back their daughters and, following Saturday's [Oct. 28] arrest, things will move faster and we are hoping to reunite the girls soon," Rajamani added, according to Reuters.

Jacob's lawyer denied the allegations. He said that his client cooperated with the police during the investigation.

In December 2015, the orphanage was probed by the social welfare department after a court order.

Following a number of alleges by people claiming to be the children's parents, a local court ordered for DNA testing to be carried out on all the children so they can get back to their real parents and families.

DNA results showed at least 32 matches. None of the girls, however, have yet been returned to their parents.

According to official crime data, over 40 percent of human trafficking cases in India in 2015 involved children being bought, sold and exploited as modern-day slaves.

"The arrest gives us hope that there will be justice," said A. Narayanan, the director of advocacy group Change India.

"The real worry is when and how these girls will be rehabilitated. Right now, it seems like a life sentence, where they are resigned to live in an institutional home," he added.

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