We are all upset about the movie Dum Maro Dum. If Goa has earned the reputation of alcohol being cheap and women cheaper it is because of the projection of Goa’s women. The time has also come for a soul search. They say that a stitch in time saves nine. The social fabric of Goa is developing a tear. Therefore it is time for the good man to act.
The tourism projection of Goa as a sex destination attracts tourists here for the alcohol and the other “fun”, creating a demand for sex workers. Most of the supply used to come from the poverty stricken migrants settled at Baina. The locals indulge in the activity too for easy money and a “good time”. Afraid of being identified local women however opt for blind dates generally over mobile phones, Facebook under the guise of friendship or the sex rackets that operate in Goa, which have powerful stakeholders. And the blessings of some law keepers.
After Baina (red light area) was forced to down its shutters, the traffickers are exploring new supply areas i.e. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, Russia and other places. They are recruited to work in massage parlors and dance bars and compelled to work as commercial sex workers. Unemployed women are victims of this trade. There is a very dangerous trend as this activity is spreading to our villages and schools. Children are being targeted into this web by criminal elements and networks. Unfortunately the parents learn about what is happening to their children too late. Mobile phones are the contact modes.
The flesh hawks swoop down on our land for alcohol binges and “Masti”. Dance bar girls, massage parlors, pole dancing third gender, minors trafficked from across borders are being pushed into this trade. The dark dingy places selling illegal alcohol and providing the rest that are to be raided, are fore warned, the raid is a wasted exercise as those involved are allowed to run away and only the victims rescued and kept in protective custody. The victims are the worst sufferers as they have to spend a lot of time in confinement then the perpetrators who are immediately out on bail. Compelled to stay here they turn hostile and the case just flops. Is there any serious intention to punish those involved in this trade? That is the question.
There is no victim protection, to prevent exploitative practices by those who are involved in this trade. Another thing about such businesses is that they are being run in partnership between a Goan and a non Goan.
This activity has shifted to isolated jungle resorts either private or those run by the State government. A huge amount is charged, but only a paltry sum goes to the victim. Here is an urgent need to legalize this social evil and bring the women under health and other rights protection by the State. This might even curb this activity and also check the exploitation of these women by the tourism Department of this State. Wine festivals being promoted with almost nude foreign women, the sexy Goa sites on internet actually soliciting globally and all kinds of alcohol brands permitted to launch their brands from here. Despite being informed, our government has not moved to close these sites.
There is a whole big consumer market with demand and supply in our Goa. We need to address this problem. I feel that the following measure could help:-
We need victim assistance units and an upgraded Protective Home.
The State has to prevent the induction of girls (legally below the age of consent) into commercial sex work and provide social security for those who are in it. Provide for skill training/education for children of commercial sex workers. And
The transit space for traffickers needs to be plugged. The State has to target those involved in commercial sex exploitation i.e. the pimps, the gharwallis, procurers, traffickers, the premise owners and the vehicles used. Work towards a behavioral change to counter this practice.
Alternate accommodation should be provided to the CSWs before they are evicted. Delink the issue of trafficking from commercial sex work.
And last but not least STOP projecting Goa as a sex destination and then enact a stringent law to punish all those who are responsible for the thriving of this trade. If we are serious about addressing this problem then only we can ensure the safety of our sisters.