IPS officer Mahesh Muralidhar Bhagwat was awarded one of the US’s most prestigious bravery awards as recognition for his fight against human trafficking. He was honored with the 2017 Trafficking In Persons Hero award along with eight other recipients in Washington on Tuesday.

Bhagwat, a 48-year-old senior police official, was a civil engineer prior to joining the indian Police Services in 2004. Since joining, he has played a major role in tracking criminals operating across the state and national borders and combating modern slavery.

He was also recognized for his involvement in prioritizing human trafficking as a key concern for the government and calling for stricter policies and further cooperation to combat the issue

Tracing the initial footsteps

Bhagwat is currently serving as the Police Commissioner in Rachakonda, a district in southern Telangana, India. Bhagwat’s fight against trafficking started in 2004 when he found young girls ferried to brothels outside the city in school buses. The incidents shook him and he took a pledge to actively fight against Human Trafficking.

He has fought relentlessly over the years to abolish trafficking and demanded better cooperation and protocols from the Indian government to support him in his mission.

He has been credited with shutting down 25 brothels within a year and rescuing 350 minors who were forced into physical labor.

Where does Indian government stand in this current scenario?

As per the published reports from 2016 Global Slavery Index, approximately 46 million people are enslaved worldwide and 40 percent of the victims are reportedly from the Indian subcontinent.

The numbers are shocking and the award is a measure to recognize the efforts of the Indian government in tackling modern slavery.

The Indian government has made a significant improvement in these fields lately. The awards and recognition bring in a lot of positive energy and encouragement that could boost the morale for the modern Indian youth.

India has been challenged by corruption, terrorism, and human trafficking for decades. Sharing international borders with various countries make India prone to these threats.

Brave hearts like Bhagwat combined with strict government policies can definitely change the entire scenario. The bravery award is also important in conveying a positive message about India to the rest of the world.