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CSW in Pune, a matter of economics, class, and hardship says Manisha Zende, senior police inspector

PI Zende explains to Shalaka Shinde that cases may not have increased as much as they are now being brought to light

pune Updated: Jun 12, 2019 16:41 IST
Shalaka Shinde
Shalaka Shinde
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Police’s Social Security Cell,Koregaon Park
The social security cell takes charge of the women in the interim and has first-mover status on most sex work busts in the city(PICTURE FOR REPRESENTATION PURPOSES ONLY)

As chief of Pune Police’s Social Security Cell, senior police inspector Manisha Zende, is often the first recipient of a victim rescued under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act. The social security cell takes charge of the women in the interim and has first-mover status on most sex work busts in the city. PI Zende explains to Shalaka Shinde that cases may not have increased as much as they are now being brought to light.

What is your view on the increased number of FIDA cases in Koregaon Park?

Now should we say that cases have increased or that the cases are being brought to light? The number of investigations have increased for sure. That is probably because our sources in the area have increased - be it sources from local police or the Social Security Cell.

How would you explain the proliferation of the sex trade into areas like Koregaon Park?

People pay attention to Koregaon Park because it is a high profile area, but, there are several areas where this is going on - lower-middle class areas as well. There are places where prostitution is undertaken purely to earn a livelihood. In a recent case in Hadapsar that we recorded, a woman was living there with her girls only for four days. She was operating elsewhere before that. In the Sinhagad, Dhayari road areas, this has been observed a lot. The areas on the outskirts witness people who migrate and indulge in prostitution to earn a basic livelihood. Baner on the other hand, is a high profile area and operations here, like in KP, are of a different standard.

Are the same victims found in repeated cases?

No, there are hardly any cases like that. The reason behind that is that the agents who supply women to these high profile areas, source them to various, far-off places. So there will hardly ever be a case where a woman is rescued and again within a month she is found in another case. These women who come from outside areas like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, come only for a few days and then are moved to the next location. Their number is considerable.

What is the next step for victims who are Indian nationals?

As per protocol, these women are safely handed over to a responsible, government organisation by our local organisation. That state then takes care of further procedure. Or if the parents of the girl come and provide valid identity proof, then they are given custody of the girl; all this is with court’s permission, of course. Until the girl/woman reaches the destination, our guard is with her. (Her ticket is also paid for by the government).

What of the pimps and traffickers on the police radar for repeated offences?

The main dalals (middlemen) active earlier are all behind bars under MCOCA. Now we find that there are small-time agents who have taken to the idea. They put their numbers on some website, get access to these women and then get customers. A major share of the woman’s payment is pocketed by these men. There are one or two repeat offenders, but we have nipped them in the bud before they could flourish.

First Published: Jun 12, 2019 15:59 IST