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Child Sex Tourism – Not a ‘Myth’ but a ‘Reality’ in Goa

GoaChronicle.com in its investigations into the alleged child sex tourism trade flourishing in Goa spoke to several NGOs who have been monitoring this menace. The details we have uncovered are shocking, disturbing and disappointing…

Maria (name changed) a resident of North Goa, aged 17, wanted to become a beautician and a massage therapist. So when a advertisement appeared in two local dailies of a 15 day course in the career of her preference for a prominent Spa and Salon in the heart of the capital city of Goa – Panjim, she latched on the opportunity and attended the crash course of spa therapist cum beautician. After training, on the first day of the job, when she was to provide a massage therapy to her first male client, the owner of the Spa, asked her to take of her blouse and give the client a body-to-body massage, as the client was a special client. She was shocked and angry, she immediately walked out of the place and found the courage to speak to Bailancho Saad, covernor, Sabina.  Martins. She however, did not want to resort to a legal recourse for fear of tarnishing her name and that of her family. Whether the other’s along with her for the course managed to succumb to the owner’s demands or not is not known.

Here is a similar incident, yet another NGO – ARZ experienced – Muskan (name changed) had been living with her parents in Mumbai since her childhood. Her daddy always desired to return to Goa to his homeland. On the return of the family to Goa Muskan attended the local school. She did not have many friends and missed the city that she had grown up in. Muskan did not fare well academically and failed her IXth std exams. She was upset and felt ashamed to return to school, she insisted her parents that she would start working. Her parents initially refused but later gave in to Muskan’s request. Muskan was very happy to start working in a departmental store away from her village. She used to travel daily to work during her travel she was befriended by a boy. The boy expressed his love to Muskan and promised to marry her, in spite of differences in age and religion. He convinced her to shift out of her parent’s house and to start living with him. She did not share anything about her boyfriend to her parents as he had told her not to tell anyone. Her parents were very concerned about her and tried to find out why she had moved away from them. They never got to know anything till one day when they got a call from a government home which provides shelter to girls rescued from commercial sexual exploitation.

Muskan worked in the departmental store till her boy friend told her of better opportunities of working in a beauty parlour. He showed her the advertisement in the local newspaper and accompanied her to the parlour for an interview. Muskan got the job at the parlour. Her boyfriend used to drop her to work every day. She did not share with her parents about the change in her job.

At the parlour she was made to undergo a training of 1 week after which she started working in the parlour. Initially she was given small job at the parlour, once she had become friendly and familiar with all at the parlour the owner shared with her ways of increasing her income by getting involved in sexual activity. Muskan was shocked with what was being told to her she shared this with her boyfriend. He told her that they required a good future and they were yet to have the big grand wedding that she had always desired of. Muskan didn’t realize what she got into till when she was rescued by the police.

In yet another prominent spa in Panjim, young girls aged between 15-17 from the North-East are brought as massage therapists. An incident that once again come-up to the Bailancho Saad, NGO, indicated that some of the girls in that massage parlour were allured on the pretext of a good job in Goa and subtly forced into sex-related activities.

While it is no hidden fact that some of the prominent spa and massage parlours are encouraging these activities; what is in even more disturbing in the organised racket that exists of trafficking in the state for sex-related activities (and almost 40 per cent our investigations reveal are minor children).

In one incident narrated by Auda Viegas of Bailancho Ekvott, a Nepali minor was rescued from a dance Bar where children are being sexually assaulted. She was trafficked to Goa by a relative who is also employed at the place. She is still awaiting her repatriation.

Take for example as reported to GoaChronicle.com by ARZ, Asha (name changed) lived in the remote village in Nepal. After her parents death she was brought to the city of Kathmandu by her sister in law. Her brother suggested to her that she should live in the city with her sister in law and help towards supporting the family financially.

Her sister in law worked in a dance bar at Kathmandu and took Asha along with her. Asha at the age of 16 years started working in the bar. She didn’t like living with her sister in law and working in the bar. She decided to start living with her friends who too were working in the bar. She shared with her friends that she did not want to work in the bar. Her friends told her of work opportunities in Goa where they didn’t have to work in the dance bar. Asha was introduced to another person by her friend. This person told Asha that arrangement would be made for her to go to Goa and that she could go and work in Goa, on asking about the work she was told that she’ll have to serve food and drinks in the casino.

Asha was happy to leave Kathmandu, to travel with girls of her age. She felt that the aunty who was traveling with her was very nice as the aunty paid for her travel and food in the train. The aunty didn’t allow any person to talk to them. Asha felt so protected and safe traveling with aunty. She found the train journey lovely and enjoyed every moment in the train. On reaching Banglore they were taken to someone’s house known to aunty to freshen. She could not understand the language and was told by the aunty that she had to return back and that she along with the other girls would be taken in a car to Goa by the uncle. Asha and the other two girls were excited to travel by car. They left Banglore and reached Goa at late night.

On reaching Goa all three of them were kept at a hotel.  Asha was surprised when she was told to go to another room and there was a man there. Asha was afraid and didn’t know what to do. She tried to run out of the room but the door was locked. She realized that she had no way to escape from this man. She missed her home and working in the dance bar.

Take another case – Diksha (name changed and now 16) from her childhood was told by all that she is very naughty and that she talks a lot. Diksha loved talking and making friends. She had a lot of friends in school and her neighbourhood. She attended school regularly and was studying in the IXth std.

Once one of her classmate’s cousins had come to their house and Diksha was present. Diksh being a friendly person made friends with her classmate’s cousin. Diksha was excited to hear stories of life outside the village in Nepal. The girl being older to Diksha told Diksha that incase she wants to go to India she can help her. Diksha shared this with her grandparents whom she used to live with. Her grandparents were angry and upset that Diksha that wanted to leave Nepal.
The older girl used to meet Diksha often and share a lot of stories of how life in India of the beaches, trains and of different people in India. Diksha was so tempted to go but didn’t go as her grandparents had not given permission.

Diksha continued with her studies and was promoted to the Xth Std. During her holidays her classmate’s cousin visited once again and asked to come along. Diksha initially refused but after much insisting she accompanied her classmates cousin.

Diksha was excited and happy to leave her silent village in Nepal and come to the town and then to India. On reaching the border in India her classmates cousin told her that she had to leave after Diksha refusing to travel alone her classmates cousin came with her till the station. At the station Diksha was told that she would have to travel with two other girls and an aunty who are nepalis and from their place only. On seeing the other girls of her age Diksha was happy to go along with them.
She traveled with the girls and the aunty to Banglore after which she came to Goa in a car. Diksha was happy with herself for watching hindi movies and serials as she could understand a bit of Hindi that was being spoken by the passengers during her journey.

On reaching Goa she was upset and sad for having made to go alone to a room with a man. She was shocked with the man saying that he had paid to be with her. Diksha was too shocked to know what she had landed into.

Our investigations reveal there is a known supplier from Delhi (also runs a pornographic site focusing on Goa) who besides other women also deals in flesh- trade of minor girls, which are mostly North Eastern girls. Words like providing women for all your kinds of need while you are nestled in the beauty of Goa is our job, are languages that are on this pornographic site along with photographs; this supplier and his associates are known to operate along the coastal areas in both North and South, they also assist in providing the necessary accommodation, if required. In yet another pornographic site again having Goa in its title, the nude Russian and Eastern European girls in the photographs are all minors, and the photographs are shot at a prominent hotel in Morjim. This site is run by a London-based flesh-trade with local partners.

In yet another instance during our investigations, we found out that a man based along the coastal belt (non-Goan settled in Goa) used to provide shelter and financial support to young destitute children especially minor girls. Most girls were molested and sexually abused. Some of the girls were even provided to some customers for sex-related activities.

But some shocking cases we unearthed, indicate that a growing number of minor children are being brought into Goa from Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and North-East states. This is a inter-state racket. For example, we learn from Bailancho Saad about how minor girls from Karnataka (age 14-16) are married and then come with their husbands to Goa, who leave them in the sex business. Most of the minor girls can be seen as sex workers at Betim Fishing Area (also called Mini-Biana).

When we asked the NGOs about the authorities action and government support; many opined that it happens to be more of a knee-jerk reaction rather than a proper focus to eradicating child sex tourism.

The question GoaChronicle.com is asking; Child Sex Tourism in Goa is very real and in the underground tourism market our image as a sex destination (including child sex) is growing. The trafficking is not only of Indian girls but girls from Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal and Russia is also growing exponentially. Can we stop this crime against our children.?

 

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