Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Chennai police tackles organized prostitution

Alaphia Zoyab
Wednesday, August 3, 2005 (Chennai):

The Chennai city police is employing a unique and refreshing new strategy to tackle the problem of organised prostitution. They have simply stopped booking cases against commercial sex workers and will instead target pimps and middlemen. "You book cases against them, they'll go pay the fine and take her out on bail. That vicious circle has been broken," said R Nataraj, Police Commissioner, Chennai.

Police action has now become more women-friendly as female sex workers are being rescued from brothels instead of being arrested.

Rehabilitation efforts

They are treated as victims and sent to remand homes rather than prison cells. In a raid on a city brothel the police rescued a young woman who is being rehabilitated with the help of an NGO. She is one of the 74 women rescued by the anti-vice squad this year.

"I am thankful to the police. This is not really my line of work. I have requested the police to find me a job. I want to lead a good life," said the woman.

Extreme poverty

These measures are having an impact on organised prostitution. But on the other hand women continue to join the flesh trade either to make a quick buck or due to extreme poverty.

"I joined this profession because of my poverty. Nobody forced me but my circumstances," said a commercial sex worker.

While sex workers wear a yellow thread as a symbol of their married status, no one in their families or their neighbourhood knows about their profession.


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