Prostitution racket busted in Cyberabad massage parlours

The Special Operation Team of Cyberabad busted a prostitution racket in 12 massage parlours and spas in Hyderabad on August 19. Approximately 65 women have been rescued in this operation, out of which 34 are from Thailand and 21 from North-eastern states.

The 12 places raided were all in the prime IT area-Gachibowli and Madhapur, and some of them were in posh commercial areas. According to the Indian Express, a police official said, “We found that these centers have been indulging in women trafficking by procuring girls from Thailand, Northeastern states and some local girls. They were virtually running brothel houses under the guise of massage or spa parlours.”

The Cyberabad police arrested the owner of Tripad Venus and Healing Services Pvt Ltd, Dasari Sidhartha, who operated these parlours. His business partners Venkatareddy and Balasubramanyam have been absconding. Sidhartha, along with agents in Bangkok and Mumbai duped several women under the false pretence of offering jobs in massage centres on monthly payment; and would confiscate their passport once the women reached Hyderabad. The accused earned 90 lakhs per month from these massage parlours.

Police also stated that the parlours allowed cross gender massage which is illegal. As per the law, only male masseurs can attend male customers and vice-a-versa. In addition to this, it was found out that the spas broke the norms including transparent glass doors, CCTV cameras and maintaining registers for recording customer preferences.

Meanwhile, the rescued women will be shifted to protection home.

Sources: Indian Express, Hindu

Should prostitution be legalized in INDIA?

The recent arrest of the couple Saira Begum, 45 and Aafaq Hussain, 50 for trafficking more than 5,000 women and forcing them into prostitution  for over 20 years  has raised the question whether prostitution should be legalised in India or not?

The arrested included not only the duo, but six more people who built a sprawling empire of 100 cars until they ran out of luck this week. All of them have been booked under the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act so that it becomes onerous  for them to get out of the jail on the bail.

What the laws say?

Two years back actress Shweta Basu, a national award winner went to jail with her pimp for doing the sex trade as she was running out of money. “I was running out of money. I had to support the family and some other good causes.  Most of  the doors were closed, and therefore some people encouraged me to get into prostitution to earn money. I was helpless, and with no other option left, I choose to get involved in this act”, she said during a police investigation.

Later she was sent to a rescue home run by the women and child welfare department.

However, The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956 defines prostitution as an abuse or sexual exploitation done for the purpose of money or commercial use of any kind. Therefore, it is now clear that involving the pimp between the two consenting adults for sexual activity in exchange for a fee is a criminal offense.

Sad plight

As per the UNICEF report ‘Trafficking of Children for Prostitution’ the biggest suffers are the teenagers. Though there are no accurate statistics as how many people are involved in sex trading ,but roughly it has been estimated that there are around 30 million victims (women,children) across the Asia who are being exploited in the illicit business.

Simant bharti , a social worker at Disha foundation told Wire“ The major reason for girls getting  into this profession is poverty, also even when government organisations rehabilitate them, majority run away because they are treated as accused but not  as the victims. In order to curb the problem a proper committee should be set up soon by
the government and soon this should be legalized so that at least children can be saved”.

Also, if one looks carefully ,in India unlike other profession prostitution is not protected by labor laws . The worst affected are the 10 million children who are engaged in prostitution with many of them working as sex workers. These people are forced to live in an asylum along with their families with limited options as they grow up.Basically by simply legalizing adultery, these minors can be weaned away.

So, now it is clear that this issue needs to be handled maturely and carefully. But the question is who will bell the cat first ?

Third call money racket busted in Andhra Pradesh

The Vijayawada Police have busted a loan racket, in another case of “call money” as known in Andhra Pradesh, which involved several women allegedly forced into prostitution, as a consequence of not being able to repay loan taken at very high interest rates.

Y Ramachandra Murthy, a deputy engineer of AP Transmission Corporation, G Satyanand, private financiers like, B Shankar, Venigalla Srikanth, Pendyala Srikanth and Dudala Rajesh, alleged to be the brains behind the operation, has been arrested by the police.

Police are also probing the role of some local political leaders, particularly of the governing Telugu Desam Party for backing the group that was running the racket.

The racket was busted after a woman filed a case stating that her daughter and son-in-law were abducted by a private financier, who runs the Seven Sisters agency.  The abduction was a result of them failing to repay a loan of Rs 3 lakh, which they had availed at an interest rate of 30 per cent.

Speaking on the agenda behind of racket, Gautam Sawang, Vijayawada Police Commissioner said, “This gang’s modus operandi is to give loans to innocent women at very high interest rates, and when they are unable to repay on time, they threaten them and coerce them into handing over their houses or lands in lieu of the loan.”

The list of charges under which cases have been registered are, IPC sections 420 (cheating), 376 (rape), 354 a(1) (2) (sexual harassment), 384 (extortion), 501 (defamation), 120(B) (criminal conspiracy).