More than 100 men have been involved in prostitution rackets operating in Majestic and neighbouring localities, police sources said on Sunday.
Besides pimping, these men are also on the look out for young women arriving alone at bus and railway stations looking for employment. Several such men drive autorickshaws to provide cover for their illegal operation.
The men are adept in identifying women who have run away from their respective residences in other districts or states. “They observe women standing alone in the crowd, and if they look confused and stay at one place for more than 15 to 30 minutes, the pimps would approach them,” a police officer said on the condition of anonymity, since he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Once they identify a potential victim, the men move in and befriend them. “On the pretext of finding them employment, they will offer them a place to stay. In due course, the men will get closer to the women, and have physical relationship. Later, such women are forced into prostitution,” the officer said.
Most of the women, helpless, cheated and abused by protectors-turned-tormentors in an unfamiliar city, will agree to their suggestion, since they cannot return home after being away and staying with a stranger.
According to the officer, once the women are initiated into prostitution, they will solicit customers in Majestic and surrounding areas. If a customer is found, the pimp will take them to one of the lodges in Majestic or Gandhi Nagar areas in his autorickshaw. Customers are charged on hourly basis. The pimp will wait outside the lodge to take the women again in search of new customers.
The pimps, acting as autorickshaw drivers, guarantee customers safety from police raids. The money earned will be split between the women and the pimps.
M Manjunath, president of Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers’ Union, said he was aware of pimps masquerading as auto drivers. “They don’t have proper documents for their vehicles. “Their main business is prostitution. We cannot take action since they are not members of our organisation,” he said.
The union leader added that police were aware of such activities. “They (the police) take action only if there is a fight or murder.”
Turf wars among the rackets are common, and the latest in the series ended in the murder of a 25-year-old man.
Rajagopalnagar resident Govinda was kidnapped and murdered following a fight over a young woman (name withheld) from Hubli, who was forced into prostitution by one racket.
The woman had run away from her home after a quarrel with her relatives and reached the city seeking employment. But she fell into the hands of a racket headed by the now-arrested Mukesh Yadav alias Munna. He coaxed her into the flesh trade.
Police said the woman, fair-skinned, pretty and young, soon became a hot property in the prostitution market. Govinda tried to ‘poach’ her from Munna, which led to a friction between the men.
Meanwhile, Govinda had defaulted in paying hafta (protection money) to a local rowdy, Venugopala. Munna, in a bid to retain the woman and save his business, complained to Venugopala.
When Govinda discarded their repeated warnings to stay away from the woman, they decided to eliminate them. He was kidnapped from the Satellite Bus Stand on Mysore Road on May 21 and murdered two days later.