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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Dance-bar women transfer to Goa
By Monica Chadha
BBC News, Mumbai

Dance bar in Bombay
In the Mumbai bars, women danced and clients threw money
A rising number of women who worked in the banned dance bars of India's Maharashtra state are now in the vice trade in neighbouring Goa, police say.

At least 22 girls, mostly from Mumbai (Bombay), have been arrested recently for allegedly soliciting men in Goa.

Maharashtra state introduced laws banning dance bars, which were particularly popular in Mumbai, saying they were a front for prostitution.

The ban on about 1,400 bars has affected more than 100,000 women.

Tourist destination

Deputy inspector general of police in Goa, Ujjwal Mishra, told the BBC that a number of girls who used to work in dance bars in Maharashtra had come to Goa in search of work.

"I would not have been worried had these girls come for work as waitresses in restaurants and hotels. However, these girls have been arrested while openly soliciting men," he said.

Beach in Goa
Tourists come to Goa with large amounts of money, police say

He said tourists from around India and abroad came to Goa with a lot of money.

"These tourists look for fun, which they are now getting through these girls."

Mr Mishra said several raids had been carried out during the past few weeks.

"We charge them under preventive laws and send them back to where they came from, usually Mumbai," he said.

The president of the Indian Bar Girls Union, Varsha Kale, said many women working earlier in dance bars in Maharashtra had taken to vice to earn a living.

"In dance bars, the girls only danced and while some solicited men, quite a few of them did not. However, most of them have no choice since they have to earn money to live and support their families back home," she said.

The Maharashtra government said the bars corrupted young people and were a front for crime and prostitution.

It banned the bars around the state in April - and then in the capital Mumbai in August.

However, bar owners and dancing girls bitterly protested against the ban saying the government was playing with their lives.

Girls in the bars in Maharashtra used to dance Bollywood numbers and clients often used to throw them money.

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