Around 40 brothels,highest till date,from the red-light area of Budhwar Peth,have been sealed by the police. The area houses more than 300 brothels,of which more than 10 per cent are locked up.
NGOs believe that transfer of powers to seal brothels from District Collector to Commissioner of Police a few years ago has led to this. State ADGP (Prisons) Meeran Borwankar was believed to be instrumental in crackdown against most of the brothels during her stint as Commissioner of Police a few years ago.
For Commissioner of Police,its a quasi-judicial function to seal brothels. Such powers were there with police earlier also,but it was challenged in the Supreme Court in around 2004. In the meantime,District Collector was supposed to take action against brothels acting in violation of law. After the apex court verdict came in favour of police a few years ago,police commissioners were vested with powers to seal brothels, Borwankar told Newsline.
She said Section 18 of the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA) enables Police Commissioner act against brothels,including sealing it. She said most of the cases she came across in Budhwar Peth were of forced prostitution.
While brothels get sealed for a period from one-three years depending upon the severity of the crime,including use of minors in flesh trade,re-opening of sealed brothels is complicated procedure.
For re-opening of sealed brothels,original owner of the concerned property whose name is on the property card is required. Many old buildings in Budhwar Peth area have been rented places for flesh trade for many years now. When brothel housed in his/her property is sealed,the owner refuses to turn up to police station out of fear. This has been resulting in almost permanent closure of sealed brothels, said a senior cop from Shukrwar Peth police chowki in the heart of Budhwar Peth.
CSWs find it tough to get caste certificates
CSWs having been finding difficult to get caste certificates and other vital documents. They are needed to avail benefits from different government schemes offered to them and their children.
The CSWs fail to clear the multi-layer process required for getting caste certificate. They along with children are often denied basic rights awarded to them by virtue of their castes. It becomes almost impossible for CSWs to bear the cost of educating child after a point of time, said Vanchit Vikass founder trustee Vilas Chaphekar. He said the government should create a category ward of CSW to ensure easy access to government certificates.