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Prostitution on the increase in tourist / religious cities


HARIDWAR, NOV. 4. A Right to Information (RTI) reply shows Dehradun alone accounts for 43% police cases related to flesh trade ever since Uttarakhand came into existence in November, 2000.

A total of 139 cases were registered in the state in the last 17 years and only 19 accused were convicted by courts while 60 were freed of charges. RTI activist Nadeem Uddin had sought the information on the police cases filed under The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act and convictions done under the Act.

In response, deputy inspector general (training) NS Napalchiyal mentioned that the highest number of cases (22) were registered in 2014 and 2015. No case was registered in 2001 and 2005, according to the RTI response. Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Rudraprayag came “clean” with no case registered under the Act.

The four districts of Nainital, Dehradun, Haridwar and US Nagar account for the maximum number of cases in Uttarakhand. Dehradun reported 55 cases, followed by US Nagar and Nainital with 27 cases each and Haridwar 17. Baring Nainital, the three other districts share border with western Uttar Pradesh.

None the less, Nainital is a key tourist destination. Corbett Park falls in Nainital district and several resorts around Corbett are said to be a hotbed of flesh trade and prostitution. In 2013, a major sex racket was busted at a resort outside Corbett.

Being the state capital, Dehradun remains crowded by locals and visitors. Mussoorie, which falls in Dehradun district, attracts visitors round the year. Haridwar is a major religious destination. Udham Singh Nagar was in news in October after the police arrested three people and rescued six women from Nepal who were being trafficked to the Gulf.

Anti - human trafficking activist Gyanendra Kumar says flesh trade is rampant and the total 139 cases is just the tip of the iceberg. “We know several cases where girls were forced in sex trade. In most cases, it is not consensual (sex). We believe the police needs to do more on this issue (to bring culprits to books),” Kumar said.

Shahjahan Javed Khan, nodal officer of Uttarakhand police’s antihuman trafficking cell, denied there was any underreporting of such cases.

“In fact, we formed dedicated teams for checking human trafficking activities, especially for most vulnerable parts of the state. Cases are reported as soon as they come to our notice.”

The anti-human trafficking units are functional in Dehradun, Haridwar, Pauri, Uttarkashi, Nainital, Champawat (Banbasa at Nepal border) and Pithoragarh.



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