Mahesh Muralidhar Bhagwat, IPS, is only the third Indian to be thus honoured by the US state department
Telangana IPS Officer Mahesh Muralidhar Bhagwat, who currently serves as the first Commissioner of Police of Rachakonda, has been conferred the 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report Heroes Award by the US state department.
Every year, the US Department of State under the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons honours individuals around the world who dedicate their lives to fight human trafficking.
These heroes include individuals working for NGOs, lawmakers, police officers, and concerned citizens who are fighting tirelessly to end this form of cruel modern slavery.
IPS Officer Mahesh Muralidhar Bhagwat has demonstrated remarkable commitment to the fight against human trafficking for the last 13 years in Telangana state. He is the third IPS officer to get the honour.
The report hailed his participation in anti-trafficking operations that have not only removed hundreds of victims from situations of trafficking, but also ensured their placement in support programs with the help of other government departments and civil society organizations.
“Mr. Bhagwat’s dedication to the fight against human trafficking is exemplified by his innovative and highly effective approach to investigating cases and his success in dismantling the massive trafficking operations within his command areas,” the report said.
Mahesh Bhagwat pioneered the use of legal provisions to close sites where human trafficking is known to occur across the state. Under his expertise, Rachakonda police closed 25 brothels—five hotels and 20 residential apartments—in less than a year. They also participated in one of the largest crackdowns on labour trafficking in the country, which led to the identification and removal of more than 350 children forced to work in brick kilns. Reacting to the conferment of the award, Bhagwat, in an interview with PTI, said, “I am delighted to hear the announcement and would like to view it as recognition of the work the Telangana government and the police are doing to combat trafficking in persons for sex and labour.” In addition to being a central figure in trafficking deterrence efforts, Mr. Bhagwat also constantly pushes for human trafficking to be a top priority for the Telangana state of India.
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