Increasingly, women are becoming catalysts of exploitation of other women. The number of women being arrested for forcing others into prostitution at least suggests so.
Delhi Police, which arrested 48-year-old Raj Radha for allegedly running a prostitution racket in the city on Friday, says that as many as 66 women were arrested in 2013 for forcing innocent women into the flesh trade. If one goes by the statistics, at least six women were arrested every month, on an average two every week, on similar charges.
In 2012, 44 women were arrested for the same crime. It means that there was an increase of almost 50% in the arrests of women in such cases by Delhi police. Though data for this year is not available yet, senior police officers claim that they have arrested as many as 30 women already on similar charges.
Other than their alleged involvement in flesh trade, a senior police officer said, some of the women were accused of cheating girls and luring them into paid sex on one pretext or the other — job offer being the most common ploy.
Till 2011, the senior officer said, there were not many female names in the illegal flesh trade. However, a high profile prostitute-turned-pimp, Sonu Punjaban alias Geeta Arora arrested that year, changed the whole game. She was arrested a couple of times by different teams of the Delhi police for allegedly running flesh trade in the city.
At that time only Kanwaljeet Singh— Delhi’s notorious supplier of women who was well known as the ‘Cadillac pimp’ because of the car he drove, was the most famous pimp. Sonu Punjaban emerged as the next big thing in the prostitution business. However, today, police claim, a good number of women, a few of them belonging to high society, are involved in the flesh trade because of it being ‘high profit, less risk’.
On being asked why there has been a sharp increase in arrest of women in such cases, Ashok Chand, additional commissioner of police (crime branch) said, “The number has gone up because more people are coming forward to lodge their complaints against this illegal business. In some of the cases, the women were arrested for facilitating girls/women to their clients for sex without the consent of the victims.”
Another senior police officer said that the arrests of such women has also gone up because of the directive by the Delhi police commissioner BS Bassi that the police should go after the pimps instead of arresting sex workers who are the victims of the crime.
In March this year, the Delhi police had arrested two women for allegedly running a prostitution racket in west Delhi’s Hari Nagar.