The United States Department of State on Friday honoured senior IPS officer Mahesh Bhagwat, IPS (TL:95), with the 2017 Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery Award for his fight against human trafficking in India.
US Consul General Katherine Hadda presented the 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Hero Award to Bhagwat, who is currently the posted as Rachakonda Police Commissioner in Telangana.
The US Department of States Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons every year honours outstanding individuals from across the world who devote their careers to the fight to end human trafficking.
Consul General Hadda said, "By presenting Commissioner Bhagwat with this 2017 TIP Hero Award, we are also recognising the commitment of the Telangana government and its hardworking police force to fight a huge and growing tragedy: trafficking in persons for sexual and labour exploitation."
Bhagwat said he would like to view the TIP Hero award as recognition of the work the Government of Telangana and the police are doing to combat trafficking in persons for sex and labour.
According to the report of the US State Department, "Mahesh Bhagwat has demonstrated remarkable commitment to the fight against organised human trafficking for the last 13 years in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states.
"He has participated in anti-trafficking operations that have removed hundreds of victims from situations of trafficking, and with the help of other government departments and civil society organisations, has ensured their placement in rehabilitation programmes."
In addition to being a central figure in trafficking deterrence efforts, Bhagwats dedication to the fight against the menace is further demonstrated by his innovative and effective approach in investigating such cases, it said.
Bhagwat had rescued more than 1,000 women and children from sex trafficking besides 800 children from forced labour.
He has pioneered the use of legal provisions to close sites where trafficking is known to occur. Under his command, Rachakonda police closed 25 brothels -? five hotels and 20 residential apartments -? in less than a year and participated in one of the largest crackdowns on labour trafficking in the country, which led to identification and removal of more than 350 children forced to work in brick kilns.