New Delhi: With the Commonwealth Games less than three months away, authorities in New Delhi are gearing up for a spurt in cases of prostitution and trafficking in women. A host of non-government organisations, tour operators and police department are coordinating to keep tabs on the expected influx of sex workers. The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), an umbrella body of over 1,500 hotels, tour operators and lifestyle services providers, have asked the Tourism Ministry to keep a check on such activities.
IATO president Vijay Thakur said, “Prostitutes from different foreign nations masquerading as tourists would book short tours to India. As it is difficult to restrict their entry at our end, we have recently asked Tourism Ministry to keep a check on them.” He disclosed that such sex workers come from countries like Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Chechnya and Kyrgyzstan besides others.
“There is a need to check such activities and hotel owners should be vigilant,” he added. Several NGOs too have warned the government that the Games, scheduled for October 3-14, may be seen as a big opportunity for prostitutes to make quick money.
“There is a huge possibility of trafficking in young girls from tribal areas in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka besides other states,” said Rishikant, Convenor of an anti-trafficking NGO Shakti Vahini. The NGO recently rescued young girls from Railway Stations and Inter State Bus Terminals (ISBTs). “These girls are sold to touts in different brothels of city’s infamous G B Road area,” said Rishi Kant. According to latest Home Ministry data, about 3,600 cases related to immoral trafficking of women were registered by different state and Union Territory police forces in 2007.
To check entry of foreign sex workers, some NGOs have urged Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to ensure that visas are given only after checking HIV status of tourists. It will help in checking prostitution and possible cases of STD (sexually-transmitted diseases),” said Khairati Lal Bhola, president, Bhartiya Patita Uddhar Sabha, an NGO working for the welfare of sex workers.