A 40-year-old woman running a beauty parlour in the district’s Bhayander township has been sentenced to three years’ rigorous imprisonment by a local court for running a prostitution racket at her premises.
Thane First Class Judicial Magistrate Mrs. S A R Sayed recently held Julie Michael Masiya alias Gita NvainVishwas, the owner of Yeni beauty parlour in Bhayander, guilty under sections 4, 5 and 7 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, and also slapped a fine of Rs. 2,000 on her.
Assistant Pubic Prosecutor S K More told the court that acting on a complaint, the officials of Bhayander police station raided the parlour on June 18, 2013, by sending decoy customers.
During the raid, the decoy customers negotiated a prostitution deal and later the police team arrested the accused woman and rescued three victims from there.
Dismissing an argument of the defence counsel, the judge observed that partial mistake in the name of one of the victims (rescued from the parlour) does not give the accused any benefit.
The counsel also argued that the investigating officer was not authorised to probe the matter.
However, the judge, citing various court decisions, provisions of law and the fact that the raid and investigation was carried out in the presence of senior inspector of the police station, ruled that there is no illegality in the investigation.
One of the victims in her testimony before the court stated that the accused “procured” her from Bangladesh under the guise of a domestic servant. The accused took her to work in the beauty parlour where three others victims also worked.
She told the court that prostitution was being carried out in the parlour. The accused used to collect the amount from customers and would not pay the victims.
The judge noted that the parlour is situated near the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway Road which is a public place. Therefore, it is established that the accused was carrying prostitution in a public place.
All the above evidence meets the requirements of sections 4, 5 and 7 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, the judge observed while convicting the accused.
The accused prayed for leniency and said that she was a divorcee and had to take care of her daughter. However, the prosecution sought maximum punishment, saying that it (prostitution) is a social offence committed against women.