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Trading in white

Trading in white
Gone are the days when the world’s oldest profession – prostitution – was stuck to the brothels in various parts of the country. From past few years the trend has changed and Indian men are going gaga over Central Asian women and the demand for “white flesh” in the national Capital and other states including Mumbai, Bangalore has been on an increase and now fulfilling their fantasies is just a call away!  

With the rise in demand for the white flesh, pimps across the country have started to bring girls from Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The white flesh trade is mostly active in Delhi and Mumbai. 

According to the police, high demand from cash­ rich clientele in Delhi is forcing pimps to enter into a tie­-up with established rackets in Bangalore and Mumbai to supply foreign women. The exchange offer includes sending their products to other states.

If the police sources in Delhi are to be believed, in current scenario, there are more than 4,000 prostitutes from Russia and the former Soviet Union countries working in the Capital. And in last few years, the prostitution rackets involving Uzbekistan women has become a nightmare for the police. In last two years, as many as eight prostitution rackets have been busted by the Delhi Police where pimps and prostitutes both are either from Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, or Chechnya and Kyrgyzstan, all of which are part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

There is no doubt that women from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are very beautiful and Indian men fantasise and sexually desire for them, precisely why Indian men, specially the rich and powerful, are demanding them to fulfil their sexual fantasies. The recent double murder case of Uzbek women, who were allegedly believed to be involved in the prostitution racket, has opened the pandora box by the investigation of the police. 

“Names of five-star hotel owners, senior bureaucrats/police officials and top journalists, who used to demand services of Uzbek and Russian women, have cropped up in the investigation as well,” said a police officer from South district. Above all, tight competition has forced agents to reduce the rates considerably, bringing it down to around Rs 8,000 from Rs 50,000. Russian sex workers have allegedly started charging lower rates to keep their cash drawer ringing. While investigating, Millennium Post found out that the cost of such “sexual fulfilment” ranges anything between Rs 8,000 to Rs 25,000.

Apart from such regular services, pimps are also introducing new offers like providing services where “white” escorts can travel outside the city with the client. The discounted cost would be anything between Rs 35,000 and more! The favourite locations for clientele happen to be hill stations and other places alike. “These days, there seems to be high demand of Russian and Uzbek women, who play hostess at stag parties in five star hotels and farm houses in Delhi-NCR. They are accompanied by men at the cost of Rs 20,000 per hour,” said a source. Another trend that is making news in the prostitution market is when clients act as professional photographers and painters/sketch-makers and based on a particular theme, they ask the sex worker to perform a nude photo shoot. Assigned pimps demand Rs 5,000 for an hour from these clients, if not less!

According to a police official in the South District, who requested for anonymity, said that the sex racket involving women from 18-33 of age from Russia and Uzbekistan is huge. “The roots are so deep that even if you cut down the branches, new branches grow. Hundreds of pimps are active in the capital and 65 per cent of them only target South Delhi,” he added. 

Describing how the racket works and why women from Russia and former Soviet Union indulge in this profession, another official who wished not to be named said, “After the economical breakdown most of the people in these countries could not flourish as there were no economic opportunities. They opted to work abroad, especially in India, which was not as expensive as compared to their native countries. They (especially women) came here for work and sustained themselves economically. Their beauty tends to attract company owners to fetch them jobs easily like receptionists, or personal secretaries in MNCs.”

When few of pimps were contacted, requesting anonymity, they said that it is extremely easy to lure girls from Russia and Uzbekistan as they are always in need of a job in India. In most of the cases, women, who are involved in prostitution rackets, belongs to a family that is surviving below the poverty line. Somehow, they find it hard to survive in their own countries. Despite financial barriers, all women primarily from Russia, Uzbeksitan and other Central Asian countries are beautiful and are offered jobs in Delhi and Mumbai because of their skin colour and foreign features. 

In a bid to hide their identity as prostitutes, they work as belly dancers in five star hotels as well. In Mumbai, they easily get jobs as backstage dancers and later they are either sexually exploited or they voluntarily opt to get involved.

It’s difficult to miss them, whether it is five-star hotel lobbies, elite clubs or farmhouses. They come to India on tourist visas for three to six months and stay with ‘aunties’, women from CIS countries, who act as mediators between agents in home countries and pimps in India. The women are paid on a daily basis.

“Out of 100 cases, only 12 per cent of them become the victim of human trafficking. They are lured to travel to India to get work but are forced into prostitution in the process. In such cases, their lives become miserable as pimps take their passports in custody and if the victim demands it back, she is asked to pay a huge amount for it,” the police official added. It is worth mentioning that the official had busted a sex racket last year involving six Uzbek women.

In many well-known five star hotels in South Delhi and New Delhi district, influential people including the very rich, hold meetings with their clients. They call their clients for a drink in these hotels where they provide their clients with escort services to crack the deal. “It was a cold evening in the month of late December. I was supposed to meet a property dealer for some personal work. He called me to a five-star hotel (name withheld) in South Delhi to have a drink with him. I, along with my colleague-cum-friend, went to the hotel and was amazed to see a new world inside. 

There were women from Uzbekistan who were performing belly dancing and were luring clients. After finishing my drinks I came out of the hotel and later tried to investigate the nexus behind the fantasy world I witnessed few hours ago,” a senior journalist, requesting anonymity said.

He further added that during the probe as a journalist it came to light that since 2005, the trend of prostitution racket has changed. “Replacing the earlier favourites which were imports from Nepal and who were charging 40 per cent more than Indian prostitutes, now pimps were changing the rules of the game, feeding on the Indian fascination for white skin and opened gates of opportunities for agencies to promote sex -trade, through classified advertisements in newspapers and professionally-designed websites.”

With time, white flesh trade has deepened the roots in the Indian ground. Earlier, women from Russia and Uzbekistan were in special demand during the IPL season. These women were used as honey-traps. Now, women from these countries have learnt the art of earning easy money so they are frequently visiting India and the number of such women visiting for such causes has rapidly increased. As a result, foreign women have replaced Indian prostitutes as they seem to be in demand. Also, rich clients, who pay huge amount to fulfil their desires and fantasy, encourage the propagation of the white flesh trade. 

“Some of the girls end up with just one or two clients who fancy them and shower them with all the money that they require. There are enough rich men with a weakness for white skin,” says a pimp, whose agency claims to be a one-stop shop for the ‘white women’ – right from having them picked up at the airport and arranging their stay to fixing their meetings with clients and keeping the cops away.
Chayanika Nigam

Chayanika Nigam

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