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Seventy-seven per cent of the children who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation in Kolkata are lured into the sex trade with the promise of a good job before they are forced to taking clients, according to a report.
The report published on Thursday by the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) in association with International Justice Mission, revealed that more than 57 per cent of the trafficking survivors in Bengal undergo a violent conditioning period that includes physical violence, multiple rapes and even in some cases murder.
"Three survivors had witnessed murders of other sex workers as a warning against resistance. Fifty-five per cent of the survivors said they were beaten with objects such as sticks and/or rods.
"Once conditioned, children were found to provide sexual services to seven to 18 customers a day leading to incredible profits for the perpetrators. Perpetrators earn between Rs 1,200 to 12,000 per day and per victim," the report said.
Out of 4,143 and 131 sex workers surveyed from the public and private establishments in the city respectively, the study suggests that the number of children involved in the private establishments were significantly higher.
The survey classified brothels and hotels as public establishments, and said the private establishments operated from residential premises, massage parlours and lodges.
"The prevalence of minors in public establishments is 0.8 per cent while the prevalence of minors in private establishments is 18 per cent. The minors observed in private establishments were 15 to 17 years old, all of whom were from West Bengal," the study said.
Contradicting the stereotypical notion of male-dominated exploiters and pimps in the industry, the study revealed that nearly 80 per cent of the contacts in the private establishments here were females.
Claiming that the Bengal government has taken significant steps in combating the commercial sexual exploitation of children, the report said 30 perpetrators were arrested and 26 women including eight minors were rescued from a private network in the city recently.