KARNATAKA

2,000 girls from State in Goa brothels, says NGO

MYSORE, FEB. 9. Odanadi Seva Samsthe of Mysore, which recently rescued 19 girls from different brothels in metropolitan cities including New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata, on Monday claimed that more than 50,000 girls from Karnataka had been pushed into prostitution in Mumbai alone.

At a press conference organised here to facilitate a media interaction with the rescued girls, Stanley, convener of the samsthe, and Parashu said their studies had revealed that about 2,000 girls from the State were languishing in brothels at Baina Beach in Goa.

Most of the girls who had been pushed into prostitution were either orphans or those who hailed from backward, tribal, lambani, or Dalit groups, they said.

They claimed that there were nearly 25 networks in the State, including three in Mysore district, which abducted or lured girls into the flesh trade.

The State police as well as the railway police had turned a blind eye to the unlawful trafficking of young girls from the State, they alleged.

They said the National Human Rights Commission had suo motu sought details of missing girls from the police in the State.

According to police records, about 5,400 girls went missing from Karnataka every year, Mr. Stanley said and added that only 18 girls were found. "The number of missing girls without a police record is staggering. This is because many parents of missing girls do not lodge a complaint with the police'', he added.

Mr. Parashu said the girls were sold to brothels in metros for prices ranging from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000.

"If the girls are unable to attract customers, the brothel owners stage a raid in connivance with the police to throw out the non-remunerative girls," Mr. Parashu said.

He said the samsthe had so far rescued and rehabilitated 480 girls.

K.T. Shivaprasad, advisor to the samsthe, expressed the fear that the Government was contemplating legalising prostitution. "If prostitution is legalised, the number of victims will increase", he said.

K. Ramdas, convener of the Karnataka Pragathi Ranga and rationalist, emphasised the need for women to launch an agitation to eliminate prostitution.

Women organisations, who are ready to launch the agitation, would be supported by like-minded organisations, he said.

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