As people in drought-hit parts of Maharashtra face livelihood challenges, concerns have been raised over the possibility of girls from these areas being allegedly trafficked to Goa for flesh trade, according to a prominent NGO in Panaji.
Past experiences have shown how girls and women were trafficked and pushed into sex trade, when calamities like natural disaster or conflicts happen, leaving people helpless, NGO ARZ (Anyay Rahit Zindagi) director Arun Pandey said.
"We are concerned as the past experiences are bad. The girls rescued from Goa, originally from areas of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, had narrated how they were drawn into this trade after they became victims of natural disaster," Pandey said.
However, a senior police officer said that they have not come across any such specific trend.
"But we have not come across any such specific trend (of girls being trafficked from drought-hit areas of Maharashtra)," he said, adding that they have been cracking down on the organised nexus in prostitution.
Pandey claimed that there have been reports of girls being pushed into brothels in Mumbai, from the drought-affected areas. It would take time to establish whether the girls from these areas are being pushed in Goa too, he said.
"Goa is not a direct destination for trafficking. First the girls are usually taken to places like Mumbai and Pune and from there, they are trafficked to Goa," he said.
It is difficult for the NGOs working in those areas to ascertain whether the women, who are being taken away from drought-hit zones, are migrating or being trafficked, he said.
Trafficking happens when government help does not reach there in time, he alleged. "Similar situation will arise in Maharashtra, if the local government fails to reach them," he warned.
"We won't come to know unless a girl is rescued (here)," he said.