Popular local search platform JustDial has been served a notice after sex rackets running in guise of spa centers were unveiled by Delhi’s Commission for Women (DCW). Swati Maliwal, the chairperson of DCW took to her Twitter and shared screenshots of several WhatsApp conversations in which spa in-charges shared pictures of women who would be willing to give the customer “service” with full “cooperation”.
Maliwal in her tweet added that she has served a notice to both Delhi Police and JustDial to unearth the latter’s role in promoting prostitution. A notice has also been issued to the Delhi Police to file an FIR against people running a prostitution racket disguised in spa and massage centers.
The Immoral Trafficking Act (1956) has a section which defines prostitution as exploitation or misuse in sexual context for business purpose. This means that activities such as owning or managing brothel, hotel prostitution, pimping, etc are illegal and can attract judiciary inquiry and punishment.
However, a lot of hotels, lodges, spa and massage centers, etc are in the business or providing customers with women for money. These massage centers employee women who are part-time masseuse and who part-time solicit sex for money. While police and authorities are continuing to wage a war against such illegal acts, the problem is still wide and rampant across the nation.
The Facts of the Matter
On November 8, Delhi Commission for Women served a notice to local search platform JustDial for promoting sex rackets. Further, a separate notice has reportedly been served to the crime branch of the Delhi Police to file an FIR against those who are running prostitution rackets under the garb of managing a spa or a massage center.
Taking to Twitter, the DCW shared that after searching for queries related to spas, as many as 32 messages which involved images of 150 women were unearthed. The DCW claimed that it took the action of looking into the matter after it received several complaints prostitution rackets running in Delhi.
In the notice sent to JustDial, DCW noted that, “A total of 32 WhatsApp messages and 15 calls were received from different numbers over a period of 24 hours. In almost all calls and messages received, pictures of girls and the ‘rates’ of their services were shared. There were almost 150 young girls whose photos were shared.”
@DCWDelhi chairperson @SwatiJaiHind summons #Justdial to investigate its role in promoting sex rackets in spas, also issues notice to Delhi Crime Branch seeking #FIR. #DCW has received several complaints against prostitution rackets being run in spas in #Delhi pic.twitter.com/BeiVyrMfd5
— Delhi Commission for Women – DCW (@DCWDelhi) November 8, 2021
Asking about Spa Service Interpreted as Request for Sex
The DCW also highlighted that the Commission only enquired about spa services but was interpreted as “request for sex”. “This shows the blatancy with which prostitution rackets are being run”, the notice read.
The Commission has sought from JustDial a list of all the spa centers associated to the platform. It has further asked for an explanation as to why there has been a delay in providing the information related to the matter.
DCW Writes to Delhi Joint Commissioner
Moreover, the Swati Maliwal led commission has also written separately to the Delhi JCP (Joint Commissioner of Police) to conduct a probe into JustDial’s management. It was also requested that the Delhi police checks the background of all such spas where women are being sexually exploited.
Further Swati Maliwal took to Twitter and shared several screenshots of WhatsApp conversations where the commission had asked for spa services, but were provided with pictures of women.
What the WhatsApp Conversations Looked Like?
In one of the screenshots, a person asked the commission whether a massage is needed or a “service” is needed. When the word service was replied, the spa replied with a complete “rate-card” for the “services”.
हमने Justdial पर कॉल कर स्पा मसाज के लिए फेक इंक्वाइरी की तो हमारे फोन पर 50 ऐसे मेसेज आ गए जिसमें 150 से ज़्यादा लड़कियों के ‘रेट’ बताए गए। जस्ट डायल और दिल्ली पुलिस क्राइम ब्रांच को को समन जारी कर रही हूं, इस धंधे को बढ़ावा देने में Just Dial का क्या रोल है? pic.twitter.com/zGEHHjKEXJ
— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) November 8, 2021
All the messages had similar tone and language. After being asked of services, the spa replied with pictures of women and with the price with which the women would “cooperate” with the customer.