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Last Updated: Friday, 27 June, 2003, 05:01 GMT 06:01 UK
Delhi rich girls sell sex
By Ayanjit Sen
BBC correspondent in Delhi

Prostitution in the Indian capital, Delhi, is changing with young girls from middle-class families becoming involved in the business.

Delhi prostitute on GB Road
The traditional image of Delhi prostitution
Unlike in the past, when girls from poor families were forced to take to prostitution, more and more models and even school girls have joined the profession, the authorities say.

The police say prostitution has become a huge organised business in the capital.

"These girls are all from rich and good families and they took up this profession to earn some quick money," says deputy commissioner of police, Sanjay Beniwal, reflecting on one recent operation against Delhi prostitutes.

He says some of the arrested girls were charging nearly $400 a time for deals fixed over the phone.

I do entertain big business delegations... because they can pay good money
The deals are fixed by pimps who arrange for the girls to meet their clients.

"Businessmen and other rich individuals no longer throng the dingy brothels in Delhi since they now have a host of upmarket call girls to choose from," the officer said.

The police sometimes, find it difficult to handle these cases because of the alleged involvement of politicians and bureaucrats.

"I do entertain big business delegations which come to Delhi and other high-profile people because they can pay good money," says a Delhi prostitute who gave her name as Sheila.

She told the BBC she buys expensive jewellery and clothes with the money she earns from this trade.

Quick money

Sheila comes from a wealthy family in the city of Chandigarh and came to Delhi a few years ago for her college studies.

Delhi prostitutes on GB Road
Rich businessmen now tend to avoid street prostitutes
She has now finished her studies and is working in a bank in the capital.

Non-governmental organisations say girls from rich families are entering the trade simply for quick money and also for pleasure.

The president of the Delhi-based Joint Women's Programme - Jyotsna Chatterjee - says there are many girls from Bombay and Bangalore who come to Delhi on Friday nights to spend the weekend with their rich clients.

"These girls are sought after for international business meetings and even some tour operators offer girls as part of holiday packages," she told the BBC.

The police say fitness centres, hotels and farmhouses have become hubs for this trade.

Massage parlours which also provide escort services and dating clubs have also increased in the capital.

The police say they have already started to clamp down on these parlours.

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