Minors form a major part of India's sex trade. A report by IJM and Maharashtra Commission for the Protection of Child Rights claims at least 15% of Mumbai's commercial sex establishments offer underage women for pleasure.
In 2015, the NCRB noted trafficking of minors had increased a shocking 14 times last decade.
The conditions the girls are subjected to are indeed horrifying.
For many, their journey in sex trade starts with rape. They are given hormonal injections "to make them more compliant, for birth control measures or to make them fatter".
Most serve upto six customers daily, and get only a small percent of the Rs. 500-1,500 per-client charge; agents pocket the rest.
Poverty or death of parents forced many into the trade. Others were deceived.
The survey included 1,162 brothels and 10,082 sex workers, among others, across Mumbai, Virar, Thane and Navi Mumbai.
Grant Road has the maximum sex establishments (445) followed by Bhiwandi (389). Other hotspots include Andheri, Dombivali, Bhandup, Chembur, Ulhasnagar and Kamathipura.
The most minors (18.7% of sex workers) are employed in Panvel, followed by Borivali (12.5%).
5.5% of Mumbai's sex workers are minors.
The main targets are girls from Delhi, West Bengal, Rajasthan and 'fair' ones from the northeast. 71% of them aged 15-17 are from the Bedia tribe of Bihar and Jharkhand.
With the growth of social media and internet use in rural regions, traffickers now have it easier: Facebook and WhatsApp are now frequently used to lure women on pretext of jobs, money and marriage.
Mumbai's sex trade generates Rs. 2,550cr annually, but the women continue to suffer everyday.
To tackle the disturbing trend, police need advanced investigative training to infiltrate the private network: the survey found at least 25 minors sold for sex slavery in private lodges of Thane, Mira Road and Navi Mumbai.
Cops also need training in technology to catch up with the latest criminal methods.
Love India news?
Subscribe to stay updated.