THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Shedding light into the working of trafficking rackets that trick young women into flesh trade, the Crime Branch has found that about 64 women from the state were pushed into prostitution in Bahrain after they were taken to the country under the promise of better job and pay. The sleuths had managed to rescue 14 of them and brought them back to the country three years back. The rest of the women are still stranded there and are being exploited by organised sex rackets, mostly operated by Keralites.
A top cop in the Crime Branch said the efforts to bring the women failed to yield positive result as they were reluctant to leave their job partly due to the fear of losing out on jobs and reprisal from the criminal gangs. “Some of them don’t want to create a fuss by asking for help to return. They are afraid that the veil of anonymity that they have would be blown away.
Also, the sex rackets are so powerful that the women are afraid they would harm their reputation and personal life if they chose to approach the police,” he said. The 14 women were rescued by a well-coordinated effort of the anti-trafficking unit led by IG S Sreejith. They were rescued after they sought the police help. Those who trafficked the women were pressurised by the police which finally led to their release.
The help of Bahrain officials were also received to secure their release. However, the women who came back were reluctant to initiate legal process against their tormentors and it was after relentless insistence that two of them decided to approach the police with a complaint. However, the Crime Branch cops have managed to obtain details of the women who are still stranded abroad after grilling those who had returned. The names of the women were recorded and the cops also managed to obtain an album carrying the photographs of the women. However, the cops doubt whether the names given by the returnees are correct.
“Those who returned have given the names by which those women were addressed by the members of the sex racket. We doubt that those names are not real and were given by those who run the brothel,” said a senior officer, who is part of the probe. As per sources, trafficking and prostitution has become a regular affair and several scores of Kerala women are being forced to work in several gulf countries.