Mumbai bar girls take on Goa pubs

Panaji: The closure of dance bars in Mumbai has forced a change of scene at pubs in Goa, which are making way for these girls, most of who have turned into commercial sex workers, increasingly scouting for customers, coming to the coastal state for vactioning.The trend of picking up girls from the roadside in the coastal belt has now been replaced with more sophisticated methods.

Non Government Organisations (NGOs) working in this area, say that girls banned from dancing in Mumbai bars are taking on the Goa pubs. "They scout for customers inside the pub. Planted by the pub owner, they encourage him to drink and also request for drinks," said Arun Pandey, associated with NGO ARZ (Anyay Rahit Zindagi), which has been active in the field of rehabilitating commercial sex workers, who are usually rescued from dark holes of tourist places. Pandey said the girl later strikes a deal with the customer and walks out with him to spend a night.

NGOs have brought this trend to the notice of the state government authorities, but to no avail. "Local panchayats which issues licences for these pubs should act against such practice," Pandey said, stressing that the police nexus in the entire trade is blatant. The coastal belt comprising of Calangute and Baga has several pubs, which are in full gusto as New Year celebrations inch closer. The tourists have begun flocking these coastal belts, which provide much more than just pure fun for visitors.

"After Mumbai dance bars closed, the girls were pushed into sex trade in places like Goa, Bangalore and even in Gulf Countries, where they travel for dancing in the pubs," said Pandey, whose NGO has done a study on `Dance Bar girls and their Impact on Goa`. He said that Mumbai has become a transit point for these girls, who are originally from North Eastern states or even places like Bangladesh.

Pandey said that some them were rescued too from the trade but it has not changed the scene much as the state police`s Integrated anti human traffic unit for the purpose of banning such incidents have found itself on a wrong foot.

A senior police officer conceded that the unit does not have a single devoted staff. The vehicle which was sanctioned for the unit was initially in service of higher officers. "The Women`s Police station, which is already facing staff shortage has been handling this unit," he said.

Auda Viegas, another social activist and head of NGO, Bailancho Ekvott, said that there is a police nexus giving protection to the trade. "Not just girls, there are trans-genders who are found often in these shoddy places," Viegas said pointing out that government does not have any rehabilitation policy for `third gender` people. "If girls are rescued they can be rehabilitated but when it comes to trans-gender, they are often allowed to go without any intervention," Viegas said.