This is the not first case in Goa or perhaps new to the police but despite several complaints no action has been taken by the police for the past one year, says local. The involvement of a social activist has forced the police to take action which resulted into the arrest of a person running prostitution ring under the garb of a massage parlour and the rescue of two victim girls at Colva, but this has given rise to the speculation that there could many such activities taking place.
Social activists and locals are of the opinion that this could be just the tip of the iceberg. The modus operandi run by these pimps are to have prostitution rackets under the garb of massage parlours in residential areas.
The Colva Panchayat says that the current body has not issued any license for massage parlours during the last two years; queries have come up asking how come the authorities have been so lax in raiding these parlours when they have no license to run the business.
Social activist and a resident of Colva Judith Almeida said that citizens had informed the Colva Police about a year ago about prostitution carried out by pimps under the guise of massage parlours. She further stated that there was no action taken and if the police are serious about getting rid of the prostitution racket, they should sensitize their men in identifying massage parlours as well as pick up points which have increased in recent months.
Judith also questioned as to why was it not possible for the police to have its own source of information about the prostitution taking place in the village and further questioned the silence of the police personnel about the open soliciting going on in the village.
Judith stated that if Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was really serious about putting an end to prostitution and drugs, he should question the authorities who are negligent in discharging their duties.
Women’s rights activist, Auda Viegas was frank in admitting that the prostitution racket unearthed by the police and the rescue of the victim girls is just a hint of a much larger and more complex issue.
Auda said, “It is now clear, that to avoid suspicion, the pimps have shifted their activities in rented residential premises under the garb of massage parlors. The LIB unit of the police, besides police informers, should be rejuvenated by the police department to gather information about these rackets taking place in the rented premises.”
Auda demanded that police keep a close eye on the mushrooming illegal massage parlours along the coastal belt.
The Colva Sarpanch, Anthony Fernandes told sources at The Goan that they have not issued any new license to massage parlors during the last two years. When questioned how the massage parlor operating in the rented premises escaped detection of the panchayat body, the sarpanch said it is for the police to crack a whip against an illegal business.
The Colva Police busted a prostitution racket at a parlor in Colva on August 21st and arrested two persons even as the police rescued two girls between the age of 25 and 27 years, who were forced into prostitution. The parlor owner Ramesh Upadhya, aged 42 years, from Mumbai and his 24-year old partner Jinita Nayak from Orissa were arrested. The two girls hail from West Bengal and Odisha.
Colva PI Rahul Parab said that based on a tip-off that Ramesh was soliciting customers for prostitution near an ice-cream parlour in Colva, the police sent a decoy customer.
After striking a deal, the accused took the police decoy for sexual activities at Glamour massage parlour, in Goldfield apartments, at Colva. The police then conducted a raid and the two girls were rescued.
PI Rahul Parab said that the police would continue to conduct raids along the coastal belt to nip such illegal activities in the bud.
In view of the raid, Colva sarpanch requested Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao to take necessary measures to shut down illegal massage parlors by directing police authorities to initiate action against such activities.
Days after Churchill raised the issue of massage parlors in the Goa Legislative Assembly; the Colva Sarpanch informed the MLA that the panchayat body has not granted any permission to run massage parlors in the panchayat jurisdiction.
Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao has said he will continue to highlight how prostitution is carried out under the guise of running massage parlors in order to protect the interest of the village. He assured that he would continue to speak up about the issue, inside the house as well outside till the authorities put an end to the illegal massage parlours coming up in Colva.
The Benaulim MLA said that the future of the local youth and the image of Colva, as a tourist village were of utmost importance to him and he has been assured of police action on the prostitution racket as well as other illegal activities being carried out along the coastal belt.