Officials of the NTR district have decided to act tough against those resorting to illegal activities on the pretext of running spa and massage centres.
Police will book cases against the owners of the spa centres, and stern action will be taken against them if they run their business in any manner, officials warned.
“There is no permission for spa centres in Vijayawada and neighbouring areas in NTR district. All such centres will be closed,” said Police Commissioner Kanthi Rana Tata.
Of the 140 spa, massage and other centres in the district, on which the police conducted surprise raids, it was found that flesh trade was being organised in more than 50% of the centres.
“Owners of some spa, beauty parlour, massage and gym centres were running the illegal trade by getting women from the neighbouring States and districts. They were circulating the photographs of the victims online to promote their business,” said investigation officers.
District Collector S. Dilli Rao has directed the officials of the Women Development and Child Welfare, Police, Revenue, Labour and other departments to continue the raids to check the illegal activities.
Mr. Kanthi Rana Tata told The Hindu that cases would be booked against the owners of the spa and massage centres under Section 370 IPC (Human Trafficking) and also under Section 370 (a) IPC (Exploitation of a trafficked person).
“Though the centre owners obtain permission from the municipal corporation or the local bodies, spa and massage centres need permission from the Police, Labour, WD&CW and other departments too,” he said.
“We have not been giving permission for any massage or spa centres for the last six months and the existing will be closed soon. Those booked under the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Act, 2018 or under Section 370 IPC are liable for imprisonment,” he added.