‘Escort services new form of prostitution’

TIMES OF INDIA

PANAJI:  A need for tackling human trafficking at the root with help from states where victims are sourced is required, felt the ‘consultation of service providers from Goa and source states to combat human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation in Goa’, a seminar on human trafficking held at the secretariat hall in Porvorim.

Addressing a session on ‘Process of rescue in Goa and need for support of source state to prosecute traffickers’, crime branch police inspector Sunita Sawant said “Escort services is the new form of prostitution. Escorts give all sorts of ‘comfort’ to tourists.”

“The escorts (who are usually victims of trafficking) come in batches from north east for 5-6 days…They are usually lured with jobs in the hotel industry,” she added. Sawant felt, “Transit and source state trafficking offenders need to be brought to book.”

Narrating the difficulties faced in convicting offenders, Sawant said in one instance the rescued girls fled from the protective home. Hence, they could not get them to testify in court and the offenders were subsequently acquitted.

She narrated another instance wherein a Bangladeshi girl who was trafficked initially told officials she hailed from West Bengal. She revealed the truth to a counselor after three months, Sawant added. Police inspector Gurudas Kadam cited an incident in Anjuna where an Andhra Pradesh-based businessman was found dead after a conference where businessmen exploited trafficked girls in a hotel.

The hotel did not maintain any record of the girls entering the premises nor the rooms used for the illicit activity. The hotel manager was also involved, he added.He said many times the victims do not cooperate and hence authorities need greater help from source states (from where victims are trafficked) to eradicate the problem of trafficking from the root.A counsellor at one of the state-run shelters where victims are rehabilitated said, “The girls are traumatized. They want to go home… Sometimes, the victims become hostile.”

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