Mumbai: Five women were detained by the police after a prostitution racket was busted in Bhandup East on Monday night. The action sheds light on Bhandup’s Sonapur area, which is infamous as one of the biggest destinations in the country for trafficked women.
There are several tragic stories of migrant workers who come to Mumbai from other states and even neighbouring countries in search of jobs but unwillingly end up at Sonapur. Mostly run by pimps or eunuchs, Sonapur is another major red-light area after south Mumbai’s brothels like Kamathipura and Falkland Road.
Young girls lured on the pretext of employment
According to reports, women and young girls from poor families are lured by pimps or “agents” to Sonapur on the pretext of employment. “For them coming to Mumbai sounds like money in bold letters. They think as soon as one reaches Mumbai, they start minting ample money,” said a senior police officer on the condition of anonymity. He continued, “They come from West Bengal, Nepal, Nagaland and even Bangladesh – or rather they are “brought” with fake promises of a better life. Unfortunately, the reality is that victims can't escape from Sonapur. They get stuck forever.”
The living conditions are harrowing as 5-6 women live in cramped rooms, said the police official who claimed to have arrested several agents for illegal trafficking. Likening agents to “parasites”, the cop said, “You remove one, five more are created.”
While talking to the FPJ earlier, Anson Thomas, a former Customs officer who is currently crusading against the mafia running the flesh trade, said that he used to go to these brothels in Sonapur posing as a customer and later tip-off the police. He claimed to have found 18 Tamil Nadu-based girls inside a tunnel at Sonapur.
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