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February 25, 2007

Goa developing plan to combat sex tourism

The Navhind Times: Action plan devised to curb sex tourism: CM

NT Staff Reporter

Panaji, Feb25 Goa by no means is a sex capital, where tourist can come and pay for sex -- we do not want to become Bangkok, Bali or Pataya, said the Chief Minister, Mr Prataphsing Rane this evening.

Addressing the inaugural session of a two-day workshop on ‘Prevention and combating human trafficking with special focus on children and women’ at a South Goa resort, Mr Rane revealed that a Goa state action plan has been devised with a code of conduct for foreign tourists who visit the state to curb the growing menace of trafficking of women and children, which lead to prostitution and paedophilia.

Trafficking in human beings, more so in women and children, is one of the fastest growing forms of criminal activity, next to drugs and weapons, generating unaccountable profits annually. The reasons for this increase are multiple and complex, affecting rich and poor countries alike -- India being no exception.

Of late, there is an expanding market for commercial sexual exploitation through non- brothel-based modalities wherein the trafficked persons are made to pose as attendants, masseurs and bartenders. Child pornography is another area that requires concerted attention. Sex tourism is also growing and India is emerging as a major tourist destination.

Speaking further, Mr Rane said women and children are the greatest sufferers during any calamity and poverty is a great evil, which forces women and children into sex racket, which is a shame to modern society. There are 800 red light areas in the country where 75 per cent of the women are HIV positive. This is both alarming and a setback for a country which is trying to jump economically ahead.

By eradication of poverty and illiteracy, the problem may be combated and the coming assembly budget session will be directed to women and children, especially of the rural sector of society, so as to make them independent, he said.

Further referring to statistics, Mr Rane highlighted how Goa being a tourism hotspot has attracted trafficking of both women and children. Paedophilia is a matter of concern, and is on the rise, he added.

The Goa Governor, Mr S C Jamir said that consciousness needs to be aroused amongst the people to solve what he described as one of the most formidable challenges faced by the society today; mere laws, legislations and NGOs would not be enough. Trafficking of children is not only a crime but also a shame to society and seeing the statistics which show that the same is on the rise, we must concentrate more on prevention than on rehabilitation, the Governor said.
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