Prostitution on the rise in Punjab as police look away
LAHORE: Many people adopt professions based on their circumstances. The same can be said about women who join prostitution and in Punjab, it seems that the business is thriving due to the police’s involvement.
For Raeesa*, it was never fun or pleasure that made her take up the profession but it was her situation.
The 23-year-old, who stands on Lahore’s bustling Jail Road, took up the profession as she was uneducated and had no other means to look after her ailing mother and three younger brothers.
Raeesa said that she charges Rs500 to Rs2,000 from her clients.
“Whatever I earn daily, I have to give 60% of it to my dealer Aunty Candy,” she said sorrowfully.
Her colleague, Bushra* said her involvement in the business began when her husband, who is a drug addict, sold her to the prostitution racket. She shared that she was forced to get involved as her husband owed the racket Rs100,000.
When asked about the police, she said that her dealer pays ‘monthly’ to the local police officials and they never stop them from operating on Jail Road.
“In fact they also take bribes or money from the people who visit us or who are our clients,” said Bushra.
Mushroom growth of massage centres
Another reason for the rise in prostitution is the mushroom growth of massage centres that are operated by rackets.
“There are more than 15,000 massage centres approximately operating illegally in Punjab with the backing of some powerful government servants and police officials,” a senior police official told Bol News on the condition of anonymity.
*Abdul Basit, who is part of one of the biggest prostitution rackets of Punjab said that they have 800 girls that are working in different districts of the province including Lahore, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura, Multan, Faisalabad, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sahiwal, Gujrat.
He added that they operate in the name of small hotels, beauty parlours and massage centres.
“We charge anything between 10,000-Rs100,000 for a night from customers,” Basit shared.
When Bol News asked another police officer about the problem, he said that the law enforcement agency always carries out operations without any discrimination whenever they receive a tip or information.
On the involvement of cops, the official shared that if the departmental inquiry finds anyone guilty then action could be initiated against those police officials.
Another senior police official said that under the leadership of the new IG Punjab Rao Sardar Ali Khan such crimes would not be tolerated and he had a good reputation.
“You will see an improvement in police dealing with the general public and decline in crime rate. He is an upright officer and will not allow such businesses to operate freely,” a senior police official said.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the women
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