Police in a south Indian city have broken up an international child trafficking racket and arrested 16 gang members suspected of sending children to the United States.
The syndicate sent at least 25 children to the US using false documents before the special investigative team made the arrests, an investigating officer said on Tuesday.
The breakthrough comes at a time of mounting concern over the rise in human trafficking in India.
The National Crime Record Bureau data shows human trafficking, mainly for sexual exploitation, rose 60 percent between 2010 and 2014.
Agents of the syndicate sent children aged younger than 10 to Bengaluru from the northern states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and the western state of Gujarat.
The children were made to pose as a family travelling to the US while presenting false documents at the US Consulate in Chennai.
The trafficked children would then be left in the US, while the people posing as their parents returned to India.
Questioned by the police, the suspected traffickers said they were reuniting the children with their parents in the US, all illegal immigrants.
Police officials were quoted on Indian television as saying they believed the children were being sold in the United States.