Besides the ongoing cases of drugs and gambling, there is a stiff rise in the cases of prostitution and Human Trafficking in the state. Goa is increasingly witnessing crimes against women and children in the name of human trafficking. The safest state in the country does not feel safe anymore. With crimes rising against women in every part of the country, Goa too, unfortunately, has its share. Apart from drugs and alcohol, human trafficking is causing major concern to the safety of the tourists as well as the host communities in this state.
According to statistics, a total of 1,864 crimes have been reported against women and 1, 194 crimes against children from past five years in Goa. Girls from across the country and as well as abroad are trafficked under false job promises and good payment. It is unfortunate that innocent girls are dragged into this vicious circle and face torture without any hopes of getting out. The pimps advertise in the local newspapers about job opportunities with promising payment, to lure girls into taking up prostitution. They are tortured and mercilessly beaten up if they refuse to work.
According to Times of India, reports reveal that majority of the girls that are trapped under this practice belong to North East, Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and even Karnataka. Girls are also brought down from countries like Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Bangladesh etc and are stripped away from their passports and made to work here. According to Its Goa, the girls are often threatened to be handed over to police on account of their Visas being expired. They can’t help but succumb into this inhumane torture with no chance of escaping. This flesh trade has expanded into a massive business with many actors, models and high-profile people involved. They have resorted to online services as well with available escort websites.
Arz is a social work organization committed to combating trafficking of persons for the purpose of sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation in Goa. They have been working to rescue girls and children entrapped in this trade and also educate people about this. They stated, “Goa has become a major destination for human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.” This anti-human trafficking wing is working on getting strict laws about the same. According to the Times of India, they have suggested that a separate trial court must be established to enable faster justice to the victims of sexual harassment.
Speaking on the same, Arun Pandey, director of Anyay Rahit Zindagi (ARZ), stated “They (traffickers) have no fear of conviction. Therefore, we want a special court to be set up in both the districts, North and South Goa.” He further added saying “The police are doing their job by nabbing these people and for the state to take a decision. It’s the home department’s job. We will write to the home secretary in the coming week in this regard.”
It is very unfortunate that certain police personnel have been caught on account of having links with pimps. Many cases have been brought to light in the past. This flesh trade has been around for years and only a handful of girls have been rescued from their clutches. The NGO as well as the police have been urging the public to report any sort of suspicious activity around them like parlors or massaging centers that employ girls to exploit. The reputation of Goa is also at stake as these cases have this state known as drugs, alcohol and sex rackets. This is a serious concern and the government and the need to act upon with utmost severity and restore the safety of women in the state.