SEX TRADE IN MUMBAI IS NOW AN ORGANISED BUSINESS
THE BUSINESS MODEL OF A SEX TRADE IN MUMBAI GOT EXPOSED, AFTER THE RESCUE OF ABHA, A 13-YEAR-OLD MINOR, WHO WAS PUSHED INTO THE SEX TRADE BY THE NEIGHBORHOOD PIMP. THE STORY OF ABHA GIVES THE CLEAR PICTURE OF A CHANGING TREND OF FLESH TRADE IN MUMBAI. ABHA IS ONE OF THE THOUSANDS OF MINORS WHO HAVE BEEN FORCED INTO THE FLESH TRADE WHICH IS NOW MOVED FROM STREETS TO HOMES.
Abha grew up in the Mumbai’s slum area, and when Abha was 13, her mother sent her to the neighbor’s house to borrow some money. But before handing over the cash to her, the neighbor, who was the pimp in disguise, convinced Abha to try some Ecstasy and once the kid got intoxicated, she coaxed her into having sex with the customer.
After Abha came to her senses the pimp threatens her to expose before her mother and made sure that the child returns again. Soon Abha became sex worker frequenting three places in a day to feed her need for drugs, and unlike brothel, Abha wasn’t confined to the room and she had the freedom of coming and going as and when she feels, with an invisible string of drug and blackmail playing the role of shackles for her.
The Abha’s story puts the light on the changing face of the Flesh Trade business in Mumbai. The brothels have shifted their base from the streets and confined rooms to big houses and hotels. With the change in place, the entire getup of the prostitute has also changed. Earlier the image of prostitutes uses to be like shabbily wrapped with saree, standing in dark and narrow lanes of the slums, and later lead the customers to dimply lit and ill kept rooms and the pimps waiting to collect the money from you. An image that most of us have built in our minds to be the truth. But like everything else, prostitution business has also managed to metamorphosized into something you’d never notice unless you were looking at it.
According to the reports, very high of professionalism and secrecy is maintained when the minors come into the picture. The case of Abha is one of the finest examples of how the pimp managed to put her into the trafficking with her entire consent and at the same time, there is no possibility of getting caught.
The (IJM) International Justice Mission has exposed 43 locations as a part of their study titled as “Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Mumbai” In their study, they came across 214 sex workers out of which 25 were minors (11%) while the earlier this figure used to be only 5.5%, that means the figure of minors have doubled in the recent days compared to earlier and the story of Abha is one of the most relevant examples of the same.
According to the sources, this paradigm shift in the flesh trade was noticed by the Anti-trafficking agencies as early as 2011. “Earlier, you could walk into Kamathipura and buy any girl no matter the age, but now, that’s not the case. One needs to have a contact and build a relationship with that contact before procuring a minor for sex,” said IJM’s Regional Director of North India Sanjay Macwan. (as reported by TOI)
According to the sources, the IJM researchers tried to reach out to a contact covertly but failed after trying for the several times. Macwan says that the first contact usually after much coaxing will simply provide the number of another pimp, who would then have to be approached a number of times before giving the number of another lead. The researcher would immediately stop all contact once the lead showed him a picture of a minor either in person or on WhatsApp.
According to IJM the racket is much bigger than they think and it had come into the light when Bombay High Court asked the Mumbai police to perform an investigation on 500 odd numbers which they found through the escort agencies ads on various media. Shockingly these 500 numbers opened the doors for the 16000 people. During their investigation, IJM researchers found an overlap in the girl providing services. Macwan explained, “We realized that many pimps have access to the same girl so traffickers are bringing them to a common pool.”
The business of flesh trade now reached to such a level of sophistication that the girls were allotted the areas they would best fit into, for instance, if the girls are well spoken and sophisticated then they are allotted an upmarket areas like Versova and Andheri at the same time their peers, with less educated and not much attractive have been sent to Mira Road.
Besides the above, the networking trends have also been changing with the time. Now pimps make use of the online platform for the escorts services, and they keep the different number for WhatsApp and calling ensuring that the initial point of contact is never the pimp himself. Even in the case of a police crackdown the kingpin always manages to escape.
Pushing the minors into the prostitution is a big crime, and if caught the pimps have fewer chances of coming out of the jail, and hence the rates also varies for the minors, said the sources. “It’s now well known in the sex industry that if you sell minors, you will definitely go to jail.” This risk has made its mark on the price of minors. In a private establishment, the price varies from 3,000 to 15,000, while a public establishment would charge anywhere between 250-2,000.
But the new system also has one biggest advantage for the police and that is breaking a chain. It means if the one girl has been rescued it helps in ranking number of establishments due to the overlapping. For instance, Abha was rescued in 2015 by IJM and since she worked in multiple establishments, she has been a rich source of information for the police, who have been able to arrest 12 pimps since her arrest.
Source – Timemail.in