Flesh trade operators from the state have devised a new way to evade arrest by enforcement agencies.
Flesh trade gangs in Tamil Nadu use agents abroad, evade arrest
A Selvaraj | TNN | Updated: Apr 3, 2017, 01.18 PM IST
Going online does away with direct interaction between sex workers, pimps and clients.
Flesh trade operators from the state have devised a new way to evade arrest by enforcement agencies. Following the strict implementation of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, many racketeers now operate through middlemen based abroad — especially in Malaysia and Singapore — who work online with pimps across India, strike deals between sex workers, also via online platforms, and take a cut of the profit.
The system averts direct involvement between pimps, sex workers and their clients, making it difficult for police to bust such rackets.
After the agents abroad receive information from pimps about sex workers in cities across India, they build a database of the women and put their profiles on online portals and unrestricted pages. Clients get in touch with the agents via contacts numbers on the web pages and obtain profiles of “women available” via social media.
“The communication is mostly through WhatsApp as messages on the platform are encrypted,” a police officer says. “Once a deal is sealed, the client transfers the money online to a bank account the agent sends him. The agent informs the client and the sex worker about the time and designated venue, and later divides the money between the woman, the pimp and himself.”
Police sources say tracking such deals are tricky as neither the pimp nor sex worker deal directly with the clients either by phone or in person. The anti-vice squad (AVS) the department launched to curb sex trade in the city lacks advanced gadgets and trained officers to monitor online communications and transactions, the sources say. AVS officers depend on their counterparts in the cybercrime wing to track down suspects.
“When women are caught for prostitution in, say, Chennai, police usually detain them in a government home in Mylapore,” another police officer says. “They often befriend other sex workers there and gain information about pimps operating in other cities and neighbouring states. Once out on bail, the girl contacts pimps via WhatsApp, indicates her willingness to move to another city, and provides details such as her age and rate.”
Pimps earlier introduced sex workers to clients and fixed rates. The police busted sex rackets by pinning down these operators in various parts of Chennai, the officer says. Pimps now only provide the the agents abroad with contact details of sex workers, allowing them to negotiate deals. This is frustrating for enforcement wings like the AVS.
“The AVS often uses pimps as informers for information on sex rackets,” retired police officer S Aravindan says. “They target other pimps on these tips. Once an AVS officer is transferred, his replacement has to establish contacts with informants all over again for information about racketeers in the city.” Officers of the AVS wing focus on small players while racketeers pull the strings from abroad.
Source: Flesh trade in Tamil Nadu: Flesh trade gangs in Tamil Nadu use agents abroad, evade arrest… – Linkis.com