Stop Illegal Sex Racket in Bengaluru

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Dear Mr T. Suneel Kumar IPS, Commissioner of Police, Bangalore

We often hear news once in a while that a sex racket is busted by Police and so and so girls are rescued and the owner of the brothel or place of trade is arrested. However, No law enforcement authorities have been successful in eradicating the thriving sex racket. In spite of arrests made, there is often less reporting on whether the accused is really punished at the end. Though the media highlights the news on busting a racket, however, there is fewer media scrutiny till the end.

Prostitution is known as the oldest business of the world and generally, the people in the trade have their very own way of making profits in the trade, this often includes a tie-up with law enforcement authorities as well. When there arises a rift between so-called business and law enforcement authorities due to issues in commission there comes to a picture of the busting of a so-called sex racket. However this is not the case always, there are genuine busting of a well-networked sex racket.

Prostitution perse is legal in India as per The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. However, as per the same act, a number of related activities including soliciting in public place, Kerb crawling, owning or managing a brothel, prostitution in a hotel, child prostitution, pimping and pandering are illegal. However, there are many illegal brothels operating in many places in India.

In Bengaluru there is no so-called red light area, however often when we go around the city past 10 Pm in areas like brigade road, Mg road we can see people soliciting in public place for sex. And though managing the brothel is illegal, brothels are running in disguise in the form of massage parlours freely.

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 and the subsequent amendments were passed to suppress human trafficking, However, not everyone who involves in flesh trade is forced into the trade. They may be led to the industry due to poverty and other factors. And there are also instances when they forcefully surrender themselves to the trade.

With the advancement in technology, the so-called brothels have started advertising online regarding their trade. I would like to refer to one website which also has an android app called Locanto. In which the brothels or the prostitute offering sex services describe the services they offer along with their contact numbers. When someone calls them the first question they ask is "where are you, sir ?". It is because the caller often won`t be calling directly to the person who is offering him the services. There is a well-networked system here, the person answering the call often a lady acts as an agent and based on the area where the customer stated she suggests him to come near a landmark. Then on the agent informs their partner in the area and gets their share of the commission. This model is usually replicated in Bangalore and many other cities in India.

What is the Punishment prescribed by the Law?

  • Sex Workers: A prostitute who seduces or solicits shall be prosecuted. Similarly, call girls can not publish phone numbers to the public. (imprisonment up to 6 months with fine) .Sex worker also punished for prostitution near any public place or notified area. (Imprisonment of up to 3 months with fine)
  • Clients: A client is guilty of consorting with prostitutes and can be charged if he engages in sex acts with a sex worker within 200 yards of a public place or "notified area". (Imprisonment of up to 3 months,) The client may also be punished if the sex worker is below 18 years of age. (From 7 to 10 years of imprisonment, whether with a child or a minor)
  • Pimps and babus: Babus or pimps or live-in lovers who live off a prostitute's earnings are guilty of a crime. Any adult male living with a prostitute is assumed to be guilty unless he can prove otherwise. (Imprisonment of up to 2 years with fine)
  • Brothel: Landlords and brothel-keepers can be prosecuted, maintaining a brothel are illegal. (From 1 to 3 years imprisonment with a fine for the first offence) Detaining someone at a brothel for the purpose of sexual exploitation can lead to prosecution. (Imprisonment of more than 7 years).Prostitution in a hotel is also a criminal offence.
  • Procuring and trafficking: A person procures or attempts to procure anybody is liable to be punished. Also, a person who moves a person from one place to another, (human trafficking), can be prosecuted similarly. (7 years imprisonment with a fine for the first conviction, and up to life imprisonment thereafter; )
  • Rescued Women: The government is legally obligated to provide rescue and rehabilitation in a "protective home" for any sex worker requesting assistance.

But How often is the Law enforced? Why are our Law enforcement agencies not putting their full efforts to stop the sex racket?.

I hereby appeal to the Bangalore police, The Commissioner of Police, Mr T. Suneel Kumar IPS to take concrete action in this regard. 

References
1."The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956". wcd.nic.in. Archived from the original on 2 May 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2015.

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