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Busted interstate porn racket involved in flesh trade too

Last updated on: December 23, 2013 11:54 IST

The Allapuzza the police found that nearly 1,700 girls were trapped in sex rackets. Many of them were exploited due to their poor financial background and some were threatened and blackmailed into the trade. Vicky Nanjappa reports

The arrests made by the Mangalore police in the interstate porn racket case has revealed that apart from circulating videos and blackmailing victims, the eight-member gang was also involved in flesh trade, largely in Alappuzha.

The arrested gang members -- all aged between 21 and 24 -- hail from Surathkal, Kasargod and Natekal Manjanady. They have been identified as Shamshuddin, Rauf, Harshad, Shameer, Iqbal, Hussain, Nawaz and Nisar.

The gang mainly operated on the Karnataka-Kerala border areas.

We want to get to the root of the matter since we believe this was not just an isolated gang, say the Karnataka police. In Allapuzza, the kingpins of the sex racket rely heavily on such gangs.

These gangs are sent to trap youngsters who are blackmailed and threatened to join the flesh trade. The Allapuzza police found that nearly 1,700 girls were trapped in such rackets. Many of them were exploited due to their financial background and some were threatened and blackmailed into the trade.

While some of them were kept in Kerala to contribute to an illegal sex tourism racket, many were sold off to rich people for as low as 30,000. Financially backward women were paid a one-time sum of Rs 10,000, investigations have revealed.

Another racket that was busted in Thiruvananthapuram had the head of an institution set it up with funds from the social welfare department. This racket was controlled by a nun who ran the institution. Charges levelled against her state that she forced some of the inmates of the charity home to become part of the sex trade.

The police say that the porn syndicate based out of Gulf and Dubai control this racket in Kerala. It is not directly under the control of the underworld but these groups do have their blessing and protection. The rich Arabs are the ones who form part of a major customer base.

There is also a great deal of demand for porn videos and clips on the internet. The police say that it is very difficult to break this network as it is interconnected. Not only in South India but the racket has roots in parts of the North as well. There are over 1000 such gangs like the one arrested in Mangalore.

They often start-off on their own and later become part of the syndicate.

Image: Sex workers apply makeup as they try to attract customers inside a brothel in Faridpur Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru