Nagpur: The Covid-19 induced lockdown took heavy toll as many were left starving as jobs were lost. As last resort, some helpless women forced themselves in prostitution for livelihood. Desperate and forced to stay in their homes with no food or money, many women turned to prostitution to meet both ends.
In the instant case, a 37-year old woman, who was working in a mall, was dragged into flesh trade and was subsequently rescued by Crime Branch when the cops raided a massage parlour and busted a sex racket.
During the raid at Umred-road based massage parlour, cops have rounded up three persons who were operating the sex racket. The three accused have been identified as Mahesh Vitthalrao Pandhre (32), Swapnil Babarao Wardhe (25), both residing near Tukdoji Square, and Pawan Bhaurao Moharia (26), resident of Chitnis Nagar. The accused Pandhre is the mastermind of the racket.
According to sources, Pandhre was doing petty works for livelihood. But due to corona pandemic and lockdowns, he was rendered jobless. With income dried up, Pandhre decided to open a massage parlour having some knowledge about the business. He took a rented flat at Harshawardhan Complex on Umred Road under Sakkardara police area and started running a sex racket on the pretext of massage parlour. Pandhre used to send customers photos of young girls on Whatsapp. The other two accused Swapnil and Pawan helped him in the dubious business.
The Social Security Branch of Crime Branch received information about the flesh trade being run on the pretext of massage parlour. The cops subsequently sent a decoy and the accused fixed a deal for Rs 2000 for a girl. After confirmation, police raided the massage parlour and rounded up Swapnil and Mahesh on the spot. The cops also rescued the victim woman.
According to sources, the victim 37-year old woman reportedly told police that she was earlier working in a mall. But due to lockdowns, the mall was closed for 7-8 months rendering her jobless and starving. Loss of job devastated her. She said she never felt so helpless and alone. Since she was knowing the accused Mahesh Pandhre for long, she fell in his trap and resorted to prostitution for livelihood.
The three accused were booked under sections of Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act and placed under arrest.