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Tamil Nadu - Coimbatore Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Police provide counselling for sex workers

By V. S. Palaniappan

COIMBATORE, APRIL 6 . After the drive against flesh trade paid off, the city police are counselling commercial sex workers to dissuade them from returning to it to earn a living.

"A proactive police force wants to work out alternative livelihood solutions for those in the trade rather than merely remain reactive by registering cases," say police officials.

"After a brief lull, the growing urban and metropolis culture in the textile city led to a spurt in immoral trafficking, forcing the police to step up their crackdown. The boom in industrial economy and money circulation proved Coimbatore an ideal market for these commercial sex workers," the police say.

The City Police Commissioner, Karan Singha, and the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Law and Order, P. Nagarajan, constituted special teams for the drive. Two of the special teams posed as decoys in a bid to lure middlemen and commercial sex workers into the police dragnet.

As the commercial sex workers and middlemen were shrewd enough to turn down calls from unknown persons, the police had to do a lot of homework to zero in on the operators.

In the last ten days, the police arrested 45 middlemen and 84 commercial sex workers, of whom 20 were from other States. The drive also led to the seizure of 48 cell phones, 19 two-wheelers and four cars used for the purpose. With this, the police claim they have wiped out organised prostitution. At the same time, the drive continues for eradicating "street brothels." The commercial sex workers are procured on contract from the neighbouring Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

Their daily earnings lure them to remain in the trade. They have been booked under section 8 B of the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA) and the middlemen have been booked under sections 4 C and D of the Act, which are non-bailable.

In some cases, regular customers are being penalised after registering a case under Section 75 for causing public nuisance, since there is no legal provision for punishment. Mr. Nagarajan says only some of the commercial sex workers entered the trade because of abject poverty. A larger section took to this trade and decided to stay on for the easy money and luxury it brings along. That is why commercial sex workers resist rehabilitation. Since testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has to be done voluntarily, the police are unable to insist on it, he says.

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