The Goa Police is on the trail of an international trafficking gang which has been "supplying" young Thai women to work as masseurs and hair-stylists and forced to moonlight as sex workers.
Two days after a couple of salons and spas in the capital's 18th June Road area, a shopping street bustling with tourists, were raided and around 10 Thai women were 'rescued', a senior police officer said that the trafficking trail could lead right up to Thailand.
"What we are interested in knowing is how a parlour operating in Goa can source labour from Thailand," the officer said.
"When we rescued these girls, they were unwilling to tell us who brought them here from Thailand. They tried to even hide their passports. So we had to use a lot of caution to get the details," he said.
"We might even have to tie in the Thailand leg of the trafficking scam. Because they've told us that there are other Thai girls who were brought here to work in spas and parlours too. All the girls we have rescued have come on a tourist visa and were working here, which in itself is a crime," the officer said.
In a sudden raid Saturday, the Panaji police arrested one Elton Furtado for running two glitzy spas and salons, rescuing 10 young women, who police claimed were trafficked here and made to moonlight as sex workers, who doubled up as stylists and masseurs.
The rescue followed a sting operation, where decoy customers sent by the police confirmed that "happy ending", a slang for sexual gratification, was offered to the patrons at the end of a massage or body treatment.
"The decoy we sent told us that after the massage the masseuse would offer a happy ending for which around Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 was quoted," a police officer said.
"They were definitely trafficked and we have to get to the bottom of that. I cannot give too many details right now," Deputy Superintendent of Police Umesh Gaonkar, who co-ordinated the raids, said.