PUBLISHED IN THE AFTERNOON VOICE
Almost every one of us receiving SMS texts, email, and sometimes even on WhatsApp messengers about the online sex advertisement with lucrative offers and girls picture. Most of us ignore or delete these messages though the message carrying every required detail of the senders without making any initiative for police complaint.
Prashant Ghatge from Dombivli, a latest victim of the racket explained how he was trapped in this web. Ghatge, a divorcee, whose marriage was not last for six months, said “Online prostitution racket is a flourishing business, and dating sites are another curse over it. These websites display obscene pictures with information for female escorts. Mobile numbers and email addresses were also displayed on the site for striking a deal with customers, and that too attract me also.”
Loneliness was haunting him and he went in depression, those days he approached a dating site with an intention to have likeminded friend or partner. “I registered myself for premium membership but later on I realized that I was dragged into sex racket. Whoever friend (the girl) who approached me ask for one night stand on the first dating only, along with shopping, gifts and perks. This becomes almost an addiction. One after another girl comes in your way and you get emptied at the end,” he said.
Ghatge further explained that, here everything is happening with a high confidentiality. “Going with a girl for fun is social stigma even today in our society, and no girl or boy approach police after the worst experiences also.”
Prashant further stated that, even girls at times go through worst, because they fail to recognise the one whom she is dating is first or second time. Many girls get addicted to these gifts and perks they receive and become soft target of such sites. Especially in metro cities, girls stay alone and they are bachelors for late 20s or early 30s because of jobs compulsion and they becomes vulnerable target for such things.
Recently Cyber Crime Cell of Mumbai Police has arrested five persons for duping over 2,000 people to the tune of lakhs of rupees through an online sex platform. The accused used to operate a call centre from Masjid Bunder in South Mumbai. Explaining the modus operandi of the accused, police said the customers had the facility to log in on three different websites.
“After registering on one of these websites and paying Rs. 999, one could connect with a person of the opposite sex, like a friendship club. The payments were being made through PayTm in the account number mentioned on the website, the registration fees paid by the customer used to get transferred into the bank account of a jeweller from the same area. The customers later used to realise that they have been duped,” police said.
Hacker and cyber security person Rakesh Sharma said, “Online dating clubs can be an excellent way to unite singles in a purposeful environment. The predominant advantage of many dating clubs is the ability to meet a wide pool of singles in an immediate face-to-face setting, though some clubs employ online measures as well”.
“Though, every site or club is not thug or involve in prostitution rackets. Nowadays, people are educated and ambitious, due to their career needs and they prefer to be singles and they find like-minded people on these sites. Rest is individual’s choice as they are adults to go with them or not,” added Sharma.
However, after the registration, the customer used to contact a specific number, displayed on the website, but could not get response despite repeated calls. The police had recently received complaints from men who had paid to become members of the online friendship clubs, but were not introduced to any women.
“Mobile phone frauds have become a common occurrence, but of late, another serious offence related to misuse of mobile phone numbers is being reported. Mobile phone recharge shops have been reportedly taking advantage of innocent girls who approach them for recharge coupons and give their numbers. The employees/owners of the shop or their friends call the girls on their numbers, develop friendships and later misuse them. In many cases, girls fall prey to the mischief mongers, and it has been reported that boys take maximum advantage of this, ending up ruining the girls’ lives. One of such incidence recently reported in Kundapur, but I am sure this might be happening everywhere,” said Mahesh Palande, a social worker.