Monday, April 28, 2003

Govt overlooks 'mobile brothels'

PATNA — The recent incident of assault on some women activists, who were distributing condoms among sex workers, by GRP men has once again exposed the existence of what is called a "mobile brothel" at the Patna Junction railway station, besides other areas including Gandhi Maidan and Dak Bungalow in the city.

The GRP men found themselves in a piquant situation when many sex workers participated in the demonstration organised in protest against the assault.

"With the ongoing agitation, sex workers have been at least empowered to raise their voice against their physical and economic exploitation at the hands of GRP men," feels Janhit Kala Sansthan secretary Minakshi Swaraj.

She is spearheading the agitation demanding arrest of erring policemen, including ASI Satyadeo Singh, involved in the incident of assault.

Over the years, sex has become an organised business in the city. "As a sex worker grows older and the demand for her services declines, she is promoted as 'choudharain' (madam)," said a railway employee, explaning the hierarchy in the business.

According to him, "choudharains" liaise between sex workers and GRP men besides providing customers to sex workers. Some rickshaw-pullers are also part of this business.

Though the alleged existence of a sex racket continues to hit the headlines, the state government is yet to undertake any scheme for the rehabilitation of such women.

Activists, however, wonder why GRP men resisted the move to distribute condoms among the sex workers at Patna Junction.

"Sex workers have every reason to bear a grudge against GRP men. They do not want to share their earnings with GRP men," said a woman activist, requesting anonymity.

When contacted, SP (railways) Amitabh Kumar Das said the flesh trade has its origin in socio-economic problems.

According to him, the police find little time to dedicate their energy to checking this trade because of their preoccupation with solving other serious crimes including recovery of unidentified bodies near railway tracks.

"After all, this is a global phenomenon and not confined only to Patna Junction," he remarked, denying the role of GRP men in the flesh trade.

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Created: May 9, 2003
Last modified: May 9, 2003
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