Spa, parlours under scanner with Lachit Nagar sex trade bust
News about raids on massage parlours and beauty spas by police in metros like Kolkata, Mumbai etc. and girls being rescued from prostitution rackets therein make headlines across the country intermittently. In recent years, the trend of beauty spas and body massage parlours became quite popular in Guwahati too. However, a recent raid conducted by the Paltan Bazar police at a unisex beauty parlour has now raised serious questions about the legal aspects of such establishments. Whenever such raids take place, one cannot help but wonder whether illegal business is transacted in the city spas, the reason for such police raids, treatment of employees by the management, etc. G Plus looks into the matter and also the recent incident where 11 people were arrested in Lachit Nagar area.
According to a reliable source in the Paltan Bazar Police Station, the police received information that some immoral activities take place in a unisex beauty parlour located in Lachit Nagar. The team of Paltan Bazar Police then raided Dapun Planet Unisex Beauty Parlour located on the 7th floor of a building in Lachit Nagar, opposite KFC. According to the source, the parlour had an open area and four cabins. In the first cabin the police found one Manoj Jain (who was in the nude) with a girl who was dressed but the police recovered some unused condoms from the room. In the second cabin police found one Mahadev Umadi with three girls who were drinking beer. In the third cabin police found a man who seemed to be in the process of preparing himself to receive a female visitor. In the fourth room police found one Bijit Jain in a compromising position with a girl and both were in the nude. Police then recovered Rs. 23,340 from Pinku Kalita, the manager of the parlour. Police arrested 11 people from the parlour - six women and five men - of which four men were customers and one woman who was the owner of the parlour. The police source said that the a case was registered in Paltan Bazar Police Station (case number 503/16 under section 370 read with section 3,4,5 and 7 of ITP Act). The arrested persons were forwarded to the court and sent to judicial custody but the source also said that all are out on bail now. The source said that the arrested girls, except the owner of the parlour, are from different places like Shillong, Nepal, Cachar etc. and all were lured into sex trade with huge amounts of money.
The source said that the business of spa and parlour in Guwahati is questionable these days as there have been many such incidents reported in the past too. But interestingly, it is often noticed that such parlours get back into business even after seizure of their licenses as they easily get the permits and licenses renewed. The source said that the license of the Dapun Planet was seized by the police and has not been returned to the owner yet. So it is not known whether the parlour is operating now or not. The source said that it is very difficult to implicate or provide evidence on immoral activities. The parlour in question made the mistake of not eliminating the contraceptives during or before the raid. If the spas are involved in such business and if the police do not receive any inputs or complaints about such activities, it becomes difficult for them to take action. The public can always help the police by providing information. A regular city-based spa visitor said, “I have been to spas where I was offered such services but very discreetly of course. There are different kinds of intimate services which can be availed in the city but definitely just a handful of them are involved in such activities.”
A city based spa manager talked to G Plus in anonymity and said, “People invest a lot of money to set up such businesses and any illegal business, if detected, can ruin the entire establishment. Immoral activities can only happen if the management is not strict and the therapists are not guided well and exploited.” He further said that a person comes to a spa when he is very tired and it is the duty of the therapist to ensure that the customer leaves energized and refreshed. According to him, the therapists working in most of the spas are well trained and are mostly from Mizoram, Gangtok, Thailand etc. Another city spa manager said, “Some incidents which came to light recently where people were involved in immoral activities should be stopped. Only because of such spas, the entire spa business is viewed negatively and this is not correct. There are spas which offer decent service to its customers and are brand names in the industry. Such illegal business establishments should be thoroughly checked and if detected the culprits should be strictly dealt with.” The manager said that they personally ensure that when a customer is getting a body massage, the doors are not shut. Drunk or intoxicated customers are also not entertained. The therapists have strict instructions of leaving the room if any customer misbehaves and even the customers can complain if any therapist misbehaves.
It is true that the management is entirely responsible for such illegal activities and to avoid such incidents the management should ensure that the employees are not exploited. The average salary of a therapist is around Rs. 15,000 per month, but it is not always easy to survive on that kind of an amount in a city like Guwahati. Girls working in spas where such immoral activities take place easily earn Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 90,000. There are other options of earning decently without indulging in immoral activities, but if the management is forcing people into such businesses then it is a different proposition altogether. Till then, spas and parlours will be under the scanner of the police and the activists working in favour of women’s rights.
Paltan Bazar police recently busted a sex trade racket in a parlour located in Lachit Nagar
Police received secret information about the immoral activities in the parlour
Police raided the unisex parlour with witnesses and found people in compromising situations
Police also recovered unused condoms
Police arrested 11 persons including the manager, customers and the owner
Sources said all are out on bail now
Some other spa officials say just a few parlours and spas indulge in such business but it brings a bad name to the entire industry
Police ask citizens to help as police cannot act without proper information and evidence