New Delhi, September 20: It took a while for patrons in Mumbai's bars to figure out where the goodlooking girls have disappeared lately. They have migrated North to meet the high demand for sex workers ahead of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) scheduled in October.
Bar owners say over 3,000 dancers and bar attendants have not been reporting to duty, in addition to an estimated 2,000 who have headed for the Gulf in the past ten days. This, to meet the demand for young girls in the UAE after the holy month of Ramadan.
"Most bar dancers have cited visiting their village festivals as reason for leave," says Dilip Shetty, a bar owner from the western suburbs. An agent explains how most girls hail from villages around Jaipur and Agra, and can pass off as locals and hook tourists.
The demand has been further fuelled by agents recruiting them as escorts. Most of them are likely to be deployed on the Mumbai-New Delhi sector. Advertisements have begun appearing appearing in local newspapers and on websites, soliciting customers for escorts. Their job is to seduce a passenger while travelling on a train, before making him cough up cash for sex.
Insiders say the large-scale migration started last week. An estimated 200 girls are heading for New Delhi and Jaipur, both prime tourism destinations. Rafiq Khan, an agent, said he had been scouting for girls for the last five months. He makes around Rs 40,000 per girl after introducing them to brokers.
The girls, called 'artists', are offered between Rs 70,000 and Rs 1 lakh for a three-week contract. "The really beautiful ones demand twice the amount," Khan told. The girls are subjected to interviews in beauty parlours or at malls. Contacts are signed before they are handed Rs 10,000 as advance.
Another agent, Pappu, admits that about 70 per cent of these girls are below the age of 18. "Nobody wants an old prostitute," he shrugs.
Most girls belong to a particular dancing tribe (Bhedia) from the Rajasthan-Agra belt. About 20 per cent are from West Bengal and Karnataka. They are told they will have to regale patrons during the CWG, but insiders say, it is veiled prostitution.
There are more than 1 lakh girls employed in an estimated 1,000 bars in Mumbai, a majority of them are migrants.
The agent said most girls will be posing as tourists themselves.