22 January 2020
Bhubaneswar: A day after a major sex racket was busted in Old Town area of the city with the rescue of six girls; the Commissionerate of Police arrested a key member of the racket from Laxmi Sagar. Identified as Prasant Parida, this man has been functioning as a key accomplice of Sk Ibrahim and Anjali, the kingpin of the racket.
Ibrahim and Anjali alias Didi were arrested by the Special Task Force (STF) from Pipili on Tuesday following which the whereabouts of the aforementioned sex workers was ascertained. All of them are Bangladeshi citizens who crossed into India and managed to forge Aadhar cards, in West Bengal. Later they travelled to Bhubaneswar and took up prostitution under the shelter of Ibrahim and Didi.
According to the STF, the duo is a major facilitator of Bangladeshi girls in Odisha, and pushing them into prostitution. A senior official of the Crime Branch said, with the big fishes of the prostitution ring already netted, the STF is gearing up to dig deeper into the racket. "We will trace the route which they use to enter into India. Apart from this another aspect of our investigation will be the fake Aadhar cards," he added.
Sources said, there are a number of fraudsters in Odisha and West Bengal who have expertise in printing fake Aadhar cards. With the help of these cards, the sex workers gain easy entry into the business. It is one of the most conveniently available IDs. The fake ones are very similar to the original Aadhar cards, the STF official added.
Another angle which the cops are trying to unearth is whether these girls are voluntary sex workers, or they are trapped into prostitution. Sources said, most of the girls come to India in search of trivial jobs, but respectable ones. However, the intermediaries who facilitate their infiltration force them into prostitution.
"Unskilled women from Bangladesh come to India seeking work. However, migrating abroad for work remains quite difficult for women in practice. Bureaucratic obstacles and high costs mean, few women migrate along official channels. They are tapped by the pimps on both sides and facilitate infiltration into India," a social activist said.
Pushed by poverty and pulled by the lure of well-paid jobs in India, the women are forced into prostitution. A young girl from Kolkata employed as a bar dancer in Bhubaneswar said that she knew at least a dozen such women who walked across the Indo-Bangla border and took a bus to Howrah station. From there, they were made to catch a train to Bhubaneswar.
Bangladesh and India share a 4,156-kilometre-long (2,582 mi) international border passing through five Indian states of Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya and West Bengal. The majority of this border lies in West Bengal, approximately 2,217 km, through which the maximum infiltration takes place. There are many porous points on the West Bengal - Bangladesh border, which is used by the agents to traffick girls.
All this is facilitated by well-oiled rackets. Many attempts have been made to reach to the root of the problem, but those yielded insignificant results. Now, with the STF taking the task into its own hands, it remains to be seen, how successful the agency is, in nabbing the agents and checking the influx of Bangladeshi women into Odisha.