WITH arrests being made routinely and women rescued, prostitution appears to have managed to establish a strong foothold in the state. The police have rescued hundreds of women over the years, yet the flesh trade has not stopped. The gangs running prostitution rackets have been using different tricks to beat the police. They use internet, mobiles, escort services and spas. Now they are using motorcycle pilots to deliver women to the clients. The police managed to get whiff of the latest modus operandi and laid their hands on at least two pilots, while two others managed to escape the arms of law. Other pilots allegedly involved in the rackets are now under the police scanner.
Many attribute the increase in cases of prostitution to tourism. It is a fact that vices such as prostitution and gambling are associated with tourism and sensing opportunity for making big money in sex services many people have ventured into what is considered as “sinful business”. Though prostitution was prevalent in Goa all through it was limited to certain pockets in certain urban areas, while Devdasis were found in certain areas. The advent of casinos is believed to have given fillip to the sex trade and it is alleged that some entrepreneurs have been using escort services to lure the clients. With the police managing to curb street soliciting and red light business, most of the brothels have ceased operations carry on their business clandestinely. With big money involved in the trade many women operate clandestinely as prostitutes to support their families and lifestyle. Police records reveal almost all women rescued from flesh trade were found to be hailing from other states. There is possibility that some from the state might been involved but may not have been netted by the police.
With a number of women being rescued from flesh trade every month and being sent to protective homes pending their repatriation or rehabilitation, there is possibility that the government would have to find additional accommodation to house the ever-increasing number of rescued victims of flesh trade. The police have come up with plans to rehabilitate the rescued women and train them in beauty therapy and place them beauty parlours. Given the fact that a sizeable number of the victims of prostitution are pushed into the flesh trade through their employment in the beauty parlours, it is an irony that police and non-government organisations that work for welfare of rescued women chose to train the victims of sex trade into a craft that is considered as stepping stone into flesh trade. Could not the authorities find some other vocation to rehabilitate the hapless women? It is well known that most of the victims in flesh trade hail from poor families and are forced to do any chore that their masters desire. Many feel that unscrupulous people in beauty parlour and spa business use the haplessness of these women and exploit them. It should be the endeavour of the police and NGOs to ensure that the rescued women are placed in decent parlours where they can earn for a decent living.
A report has revealed that women from 18 states across India are trafficked into Goa’s sex industry. These women are employed in shady massage and beauty parlours, dance bars, etc, which are used as fronts by prostitution mafia. There is a possibility that thousands of women being employed in these sectors, whose rehabilitation in case prostitution is ended could pose as a serious issue to the authorities. Though the government promised to come down hard on sex trade and curb misuse of spas, salons, etc for prostitution business it failed to act. A committee was set up many months ago but it has apparently failed to give a report. It is a fact that prostitution, the oldest profession, has thrived for ages despite many attempts having been made to rid the society of the “evil”. The state government and police have been making attempts to rid the state of the menace of prostitution but have apparently failed. The criminals in this trade are always several steps ahead of the police. As tourism and casino businesses are growing at a fast pace in the state, there is possibility of prostitution reaching even higher scales. It is high time for the authorities to come up with newer strategies to contain the threat posed by prostitution to the Goan society.