A nationwide survey on sex trafficking, completed three years ago and published by the Ministry of Women & Child Development only this week in its website, describes Goa as a source destination.
A 200-odd pages report of data collected through ground study, government, social workers, and media reports, has put forth Goa as a destination State while also mentioning that there is enough evidence to suggest that it is a source State as well.
Tourism is the main industry that the report blames for the trafficking of women as well as children for sex trade, and other illicit trades.
"In the context of Goa, the tourism industry plays a very important role in trafficking. The supplementary businesses such as massage parlours, pubs, tattoo parlours, etc associated with tourism also become part of the trafficking chain. As documented, one of the reasons for the increase of sex trafficking of young girls and women has increased because of demand from the darker side of the tourism industry," the report reads.
The study was carried out by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and partially funded by the central government.
Further, the study comments upon the Baina brothel demolition and its repercussions on the women and their children. The study also mentions the situation of the tribal population in Goa and recognises their susceptibility to being trafficked.
"These varied types of vulnerabilities underline the trafficking situation pertinent to Goa," it said.
NGO Anyay Rahit Zindagi has, however, raised questions about the delay in publishing the report.
“I fail to understand, why such a delay in the release of the report. It appears that the report was prepared in 2019, but the report is released now by MWCD, GoI. There is a long gap between the data collection and release of the report. A lot has changed in Goa during this period regarding phenomenon, and interventions relating to sex trafficking. I wish the report was released in 2019 only then it would have had more impact," ARZ Director Arun Pandey.
The NGO nevertheless claims that it is a "good" report which provides certain relevant information, important for intervention by the state agencies.
"I appeal to the government to call a meeting of different stakeholders to discuss the report and prepare a road map to implement the recommendations made in the report. ARZ would be happy to contribute to this exercise," Pandey further stated.
The report acknowledges the government's increased efforts to keep a check on sex trafficking in Goa and stakeholders are advised to be tactful in their handling of every situation.