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Girls lured for CWG sold to brothels
NEW DELHI, SEPT 30 (Agencies):
Published on 1 Oct. 2010 12:34 AM IST
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Under aged girls are being lured to Delhi for work at the Commonwealth Games, only to be sold to brothels.
According to The Australian, the Indian Government has issued an alert, after receiving numerous reports that girls from the country’s poor tribal states are being exploited by sex-traffickers.
The advisory by India’s Home Ministry says: “The victims are mostly those who are promised work in Delhi ahead of the Commonwealth Games by fraudulent placement agencies but instead are likely to be trafficked.”
It adds: “Minor girls are the main target. Strict action is urgently required against those involved in such trafficking, both in the source, transit and destination areas.” Hundreds of young girls from poverty-stricken rural states have been successfully trafficked into the city’s burgeoning number of brothels, massage parlours and escort agencies. Kailash Pathak, from rural West Bengal, fears his 13-year-old daughter, Khushbu, is among them.
The Australian accompanied Pathak this week as he searched seedy Delhi’s red-light-district for any sign of her. He said he had tracked down a man he claims stole his daughter and reported him to police.
“I rang him and said, ‘Have you taken my girl?’ And he said, ‘What if I have? What can you do about it?’”
The man, Pappu Bagel, confessed to The Australian from a police cell that he led Khushbu away from her home but denied it had been against her will.
According to the paper, Delhi’s illegal but thriving prostitution racket has been gearing up for several months for the Commonwealth Games. Several establishments have reportedly been running basic English classes for their workers and renovating premises for foreign visitors.
Delhi police have raided a number of brothels in the city’s red-light district in recent weeks. A police superintendent from one inner-city district said about 80 young girls had been seized from brothels and traffickers in the past six months.
Meanwhile, according to BBC News anti-trafficking poster Impulse NGO Network is at the forefront of the campaign against trafficking. Thousands of women from India’s north-east have been hired by escort agencies for the Commonwealth Games, a rights group has said.
Impulse NGO Network says it fears the girls will be pushed into prostitution.
The group said nearly 40,000 women were hired from seven states with promises of “lucrative” pay. Authorities said they were unable to confirm the number.
Escort services advertise in newspapers and are suspected to be fronts for prostitution.
Campaigners say major Indian cities, including Delhi, Mumbai (Bombay) and Calcutta, have thriving red-light districts where girls are brought year-round from all parts of India as well as other South Asian countries.
Hasina Kharbih, chairperson of Impulse NGO Network, a rights group that rescues women trafficked from north-eastern states, said they had closely monitored the large-scale hiring of women from the north-east for the Commonwealth Games. A government minister in the north-eastern state of Meghalaya said he was apprehensive about the problem.
Delhi street Delhi is expected to receive a number of visitors for the games “It is not just girls from Meghalaya, but from across the north-east who have been recruited in huge numbers. We don’t have details but we have reasons to be apprehensive,” Social Welfare Department Minister JB Lyngdoh said.
“We have appealed to the people to be vigilant.”
Women from India’s north-east are thought to be particularly in demand as escorts and prostitutes because they have a fairer complexion and are generally fluent in English.
Over the years, their presence has grown sharply in the country’s hospitality industry. Many are also employed in call centres and offices.
The North-east Support Centre and Helpline, a Delhi-based NGO, said girls from the north-east were regularly recruited to operate stalls at international trade fairs and other events in the capital.
“Some of the fresh recruitment could be for legitimate Games event, but some may be for escort services,” Madhu Chander of the Helpline told the BBC.
“We are extremely concerned at reports that many north-east girls [have been] lured by dubious placement agencies for the Games. We fear they may fall into wrong hands,” he added.
Although ticket sales have been low, thousands of tourists are expected to be in Delhi for the 12-day Games, which begin on Sunday.
Recent police investigations in some north-eastern states have indicated that more than 15,000 girls and young women have gone missing over the past decade.
Police say they were lured by lucrative job offers never to return home.
Some have been rescued by police and rehabilitated by groups such as Impulse NGO Network.

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