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Goa – The land of Human Trafficking

Arun Pandey, Director of ARZ, an NGO committed to combating trafficking of persons for the purpose of sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation in Goa said, “Human trafficking is said to be the third illegal revenue generating business after arms and drugs trafficking. Large number of tourists visiting Goa especially domestic (single) look for sex and that has created a demand which has resulted in an established market for commercial sexual activity.”

According to a recent report, over the last five years Goa Police has rescued about 500 girls in the state. This is a serious cause for concern for all of us and not just the Government and the Police force. The locals should help the police and report anything they find suspicious. Girls are being trafficked everyday. You will find tourists outside ‘certain’ parlors and hotels waiting for their escort services.

Girls are trafficked from across the country and are brought to Goa in the name of offering them good jobs. The pimps advertise in local newspapers in other states offering well-paid jobs. The girls unknowingly end up contacting the agents and get trapped in the net to undertake prostitution. The girls which are trapped are beaten up and threatened by their pimps and employers if they refuse to work.

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According to Arun Pandey, “There are a lot of advertisements in the northeast to recruit girls to work in massage parlors for salaries of 25,000 to 30,000.”

The girls lured into Goa aren’t the only one’s engaging in sexual activities. High profile sex rackets also operate in the state. Actors, models, TV stars, upcoming models are supplied for sexual activity across starred hotels in the state. According to a pimp who was recently arrested, models or actors charge anywhere between 5,00,000 to 20,00,000 per customer.

There are reports of girls being brought down from Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, etc. Once these girls land in Delhi they have their passports taken away from them, by their so called agents in the context of doing ‘paper work’ for their job. After taking their passports they are sent to Goa and forced into commercial sexual activities. They are threatened by the pimps that they will be handed over to the police once their visas expire. On the fear of landing up in jail these women end up keeping mum and continue to work as prostitutes.

The pimps also get women from other countries to India on medical visas. They are brought first to Delhi. Their passports are seized and then they are trafficked to Goa for commercial sexual exploitation.

Pimps have also resorted to social media and online sites to boost their businesses. There is a growing number of websites in Goa offering ‘Escort Services’ to people. At a click of a button when you search for escort services in Goa in Google, you will find a number of sites redirecting you to pages offering escort services.

Instances which have caught the eye

  1. A 25 year old woman from Uzbekistan travelled to India with her friends on a tourist visa. She was looking out for a job, when she came across this man in Delhi who apparently was going to help her extend her visa. After handing over her passport and papers, all she got from that man were promises of the visa renewal. Once she decided to return home, the man refused to hand over her passport stating that he would hand her to the authorities since her visa had expired. He forced her into prostitution by threatening her. She was sent to Goa to take up prostitution after being exploited in Delhi. After 5 months she was rescued by the Goa police.
  2. In association with MTV EXIT, an international wing of MTV that spreads awareness about human trafficking worldwide, renowned filmmaker, Anurag Kashyap had created a Thriller series, ‘Traffic’ which showcases stories of how woman are trafficked. In one of the episode he brought to light a story of a young girl called Annie, a native of Mizoram, who was duped into the dark world of massage parlors and prostitution. Annie was brought down to Goa on the context of getting a well-paying job in a beauty parlor in Goa and was pushed into prostitution. First few days in Goa are bliss, till one day Annie is forced to have sex with her customers. When she refuses she is abused and beaten by the owner. Her friends know it’s their turn next.

Many police personnel have been earlier punished for having alleged links with the pimps. In the past 3 policemen have even been caught and suspended for having  sex with a sex worker and recording the act! The policemen were first suspended and later reinstated into the police force.  If members of the police themselves are part of this trade, then who are going to be the people who will save the girls?

These are just two out of the countless instances women are lured into flesh trade. They are assaulted when they refuse to work. Who is going to take up the cause of security for woman in our country? Act now before Goa is known for things what Bangkok is known for.

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