The million dollar question, technology is a boon or curse, has been asked umpteen times. Technology has made our life easier and more comfortable in many aspects. But it has other sides also. Technology has created threat among parents because of its misuse. YouTube, Social Networking sites, Internet porn sites have been existing and worrying parents because of misuse of these sites by children. Though, these sites are available on net without any control and any one can access them by just clicking ‘I am 18’ tab. There are thousands of uncontrolled porn websites. Pornography is available in different forms like explicit pictures, short animated movies, stories to online videos. This is not limited to porn sites but sex trade and online brothel are also emerging on the net with huge network across the globe.
In India, Escort services are cover for the online sex trade. These websites claim that they would arrange top Indian models for $330 or Rs.15,000 per two hour per session or per ‘shot’. The full night service demands Rs. 25000 to Rs. 1, 00,000. These websites claim to make available working models, aspiring actresses, and Asian, Russian, European girls. They claim to provide blonde, brunettes and redheads to their customers in exchange of handsome amount. Few websites also display the explicit pictures of the girls.
Few facilities provided them are not appropriate to be mentioned here. All the fees charged by them are in USD. Some websites provide girls outside the country also. A total of approx 2000 websites of same kind are in operation in India and figures would go up to several thousands, if foreign sites are included. These websites are trying to cover themselves behind the massage services providers. Many girls on their own websites have shared that they have provided their ‘services’ to top bureaucrats, politicians and business entrepreneurs. These ‘service providers’ claim to provide their ‘service’ in any city of the country and even, abroad on the customers’ demand. Many websites on the net invite the girls to join them in escort service, which is a dangerous sign.
When one of the service providers were contacted to find out the functioning of these groups, a fluent English speaking women picked up the phone. She asked for the details like the Hotel name and room no, requirement of girls, for an individual or for couple of guys and other similar details. She explained the rate is Rs. 10,000 per person for couple of hours. And, she suggested to contact few hours before the actual; appointment. These are some staggering facts of ‘flesh market’ in a differently neo conservative culture like India.
Some countries have gone to another extreme like online brothel. ‘Big Sister’, a voyeuristic video porn site cum online brothel, is one of the pioneers of this ill trend. The brothel is situated in Prague, Czech Republic. Man can get the free service provided by female prostitutes but they have to allow Big Sister to record their intimate moments. Entry for females and couples is free on the same condition that they would be on camera during their sexual activities. Websites sell these videos to their customers on the basis of monthly registration of $30online per month or for the payment of few dollars at once. This website has also one link for girls to join the profession.
India has stringent laws against the obscenity, trafficking and pornography. Information Technology act 2000, section 67, prohibits the publication or transmission of any material, ‘which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it’. The punishment of this crime in first conviction is imprisonment of five years with fine up to one lakh rupees and in the case of second conviction person may be imprisoned for ten years with fine up to two lakh rupees. Section 292 and 293 of Indian penal code has the provision of punishment in the case of distribution and selling of obscene materials. Though, we have some stringent laws but all of them unlikely to be effective on Internet.
Prostitution is prohibited to thrive in public places under The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA) in India. Sex workers can be punished for seducing clients in public places and customers can be punished for a sexual activity near to public place. India had religious prostitutes called ‘Devdasi’ (servant of gods) who are likely to turn in to ‘tech-dasi’ (servant of technology) for few rupees. Indian government has to take some stern steps to avoid making Sonagachi (Kolkata), GB road (Delhi), Kamathipura (Mumbai), Budhwar Peth (Pune), Dalmandi (Varanasi), Reshampura (Gwalior) or similar red light areas in online space.
Ministry of Child and Women welfare have given the details that a total of 2.8 millions sex workers are working in India. And more than 35% of them entered in the profession before the age of 18 years. The addition of these tech-savvy sex workers’ groups can swell up the numbers. The technology can be dangerous for the spreading of trafficking and prostitution in the country. It is the dangerous trend and the Indian government must look in to it in the time when government, United Nation (UN) and many NGOs are working together to fight HIV and other fatal diseases.
India has seen lot of moral policing on couples holding hands or sitting in the park. It has also seen vandalised restaurants and greeting cards shops during Valentines Day and Friendship Day. These both are two extremes and India lives in between. Indian government and social activist must raise the issue of online obscenity and indecency to save the young breed. Our politicians seem to have problem of hard of hearing but their ears started working well during election period. This is the best time to raise the issue and demand a ban on such pornographic websites so that no Noida or DPS MMS scandal is repeated or no children go stray in its early age. They could be from any one’s family. The best move can be: ‘Come forward and raise your voice’.