While speaking with the members of the Karnataka Saloon and Wellness Centre Owners Association, a journalist came to know about the existence of the wellness centre based flesh trader or sex trade in the state. The journalist, due to his quality of investigative mindset that he acquired as a part and parcel of his profession, launched an attempt to verify the authenticity of the information he received. He made an extensive research about the subject in the online platforms and secured several contact numbers of those he would latter find as the owners and agents of those illicit wellness centres operates in the state.
He used one of those numbers(9620884230) to get in touch with one such centre. When he made a call in the contact number he picked randomly from the long list, a lady attended the call. The polite lady told him through phone that she would charge a sum of three thousand rupees for her services. Importantly, the lady, while speaking the same sentence again, gave some notable stress on some words to make the listener feel that she would offer all kinds of services, most probably sexual services, in return of that amount.
When the journalist asked where he should come to experience her services, she sent an address within minutes in his mobile number. He started his journey to the place which was mentioned in the address the lady sent. On his way, the lady called him several times in his phone to know where he reached. Minutes before he approached the place, he called the lady and informed her that he almost reached the destination. After enquiring was he alone or not, she told him he would be contacted by the receptionist of her office. While waiting for the call, he tactically removed all money from his purse, except a sum of three thousand rupee; he would later find that the decision to keep his ATM card inside the purse was a big mistake. Minutes after, a Hindi-speaking man called him. He told the journalist that a person, named ‘brother’, would reach there to pick him up. Two minutes later, a man came and took him to a wellness centre, named the ‘Purple Wellness Centre’, located nearly 500 meters from the petrol pump where he was asked to come. The man took the journalist to the first floor of the two-storey building. What he saw there was very disgusting. The scene there reminded him of the red streets –helpless women and perverts. When he asked would he be massaged there, he was informed ‘there is a different room for that and, at present, a customer is inside the room’. There were several curtains in the floor, like what is usually seen in the circus camps. Everything was professionally managed. The journalist was asked to take the token for the service; each token coasts a sum of three thousand rupee. When he purchased the token, he was shocked to know that his token number was sixty nine. Surprisingly, when the journalist tried to contact the lady who invited him to the place, his phone was ceased saying that he must not make call until he leaves the place. Moreover, his intention to leave the place was blocked by saying that he would not be allowed to do so until he experiences the services for what he reached there. He was handed two condom packets; each was charged a sum of one hundred rupees. He had no money to pay for it. He was taken to a massage room, later. He got into the massage room, from where two persons, probably a customer and an employee, came out seconds before he entered. Later, a girl entered the room and locked the room. She asked him to remove his shirt and requested some money saying that the money he paid for the service would go straight into the middle man’s pocket, not to her. When the journalist informed her that he had no money with him, she took his purse and ceased his ATM card and went out. Later, she came back to the room and removed her clothes. When he stopped her and informed her that he just came to know about the services and did not want to experience it, she politely thanked him. After escaping from the room with his ATM card and mobile phone, he found that he lost sum of his rupees from the account. He found that the sum was transferred to an account belongs to a person named ‘Shaarth Shetty’. It was shocking for him to realise that those running the business was technologically advanced and even had enough technical expertise in withdrawing money from an ATM without its password. While he was leaving the premises, there were still many perverts waiting for the call. For the purpose of collecting evidence, he had taken the photo of the building before he left. When he expressed his intention to bring this racket before the state judicial system, he was informed that such a business cannot be done in the broad daylight without the support of powerful persons. As he strongly believed that it was his duty to bring these injustices before the judicial system as a journalist, and identified that the raids carried out in the recent past in a wellness centre in the Bengaluru City region was unsuccessful and inefficient as it failed to cease nothing more than a small amount and some unclear documents, he decided to bring out what he had and speak up what he personally experienced.
The journalist, from his experience, is of the opinion that those arrested most probably are just a small part of the big criminal chain.
The journalist say; “the nexus between these criminal networks and the powerful people, who are capable enough to influence the government and the system alike, is the reason why the authorities continuously fail to contain the activities of such gangs in the state.”