Chennai: Anson Thomas (54), a Keralite from Ranni in Pathanamthitta district, was born and brought up in the city of Mumbai, represented Mumbai in the National Hockey tournament, donning the role of the team Goalkeeper and later played for Indian Customs team as a goalkeeper after joining the elite department.
However, Anson is known among the traffickers, who bring girls from across the country to the red light area of Mumbai and Delhi, as one of the major hindrances or a wall to move ahead in their crime.
The reputed goalkeeper had already rescued more than 800 girls from the captivity of brothels, risking his life from goons and bouncers who used to guard these brothels.
Anson reminiscences, "A girl who was not more than twelve was drugged by an elderly couple at Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu and brought to Mumbai and sold in a red light area. I came to know that a brothel was functioning there and went inside as a customer, I paid money and was sent into a room with tin partition and I found this small girl and as I couldn't enter into a conversation with her, I came out citing the dirtiness of the place and the next day I conducted a raid with the help of the police."
He adds, "When we conducted raids inside the brothel we could find a tunnel inside a room and fifteen girls were holed up there, who were drugged and brought to the brothel from various parts of the country and from abroad like Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka".
Anson Thomas has now taken voluntary retirement and is now doing social work full time. He had taken the cricketing greats like former Australian captain Steve Waugh, Ian Bishop, Harbajan Singh, Adam Gilchrist and movie star Suneil Shetty to the red streets and made them play gutter cricket with the children born here.
The former customs officer said that the presence of these cricketing greats had a remarkable effect on these children and many who would have become either pimps or bouncers joined educational institutions, played cricket and have become professionals in life.
Anson while speaking to IANS said, "Indeed this is the golden moment of my life, the girl from Cuddalore is now settled in life and now stands on her feet. I received the prestigious CNN award with a cheque of Rs 5 lakh and I donated this money to a girl from Nepal whom I had rescued, but sadly she passed away as she had contracted the deadly HIV disease while in the red street."
The former Hockey player said that he was saved from the goons, bouncers and even policemen by the will of god and he always holds a Bible in one hand whenever he enters a brothel to save the girls.
He said that he was accused of extortion, conversion and several other charges and he said, "There is no Christian, Muslim, Hindu or anything like that. I had told my critics that you save a Christian girl from a brothel and make her a Hindu or a Muslim, I don't mind, I want her to be saved and lead a peaceful life like others."
Anson is producing the movie "Pledge to Protect" and is also playing his character. Other prominent names in this Hindi flick which will hit the screens across the country in a couple of months are Govind Namdeo, Sunil Pal and Ganesh Yadav.
The 54-year-old former Customs officer said, "I am making this movie not for money or for fame, I want a full stop to Human trafficking, the modern day slavery and to reach a wider audience through a movie. This will be screened not only in Hindi but also abroad and I know that this dirty business will stop if someone decides to work for it and I think that I am being sent by god for this mission."