Kolkata: Rising number of illegal dance bars in the city and its outskirts are playing a pivotal role in pushing women from West Bengal and other states into bar dancing and eventually into organised flesh trade, a senior police official said.
A senior Kolkata Police officer said illegal dance bars have increased in number over the past four to five years due to a nexus between land sharks and promoters.
"Promoters are getting land at cheaper rates from syndicate land sharks on which they construct buildings with rooms for bars. Once a bar is set up, the promoters have to pay these syndicates part of the profit and cut money from clients who pay for spending intimate moments with the bar girls," the officer said.
The girls who double up as crooners are also given a share of the profit.
Asked about the girls in the racket, he said they perform as singers-cum-dancers and the bars have gained customers only after they started performing dance numbers.
"The girls are actually duped into this profession. They are first lured with jobs in dance troupes," the officer said.
"Possibly a well-coordinated gang is behind the functioning of the illegal dance bars. Our probe has revealed that dancing is controlled by the promoting syndicates," said another officer of the force's detective department.
The proliferation of illegal dance bars came to light during recent police raids in and around the city to bust prostitution rackets after complaints by locals.
In fact, the recent shootout at a bar at Haridevpur in the city's southern fringes in which one bystander was killed and two others were injured opened a "can of worms for us," said a senior officer at Kolkata Police's headquarters at Lalbazar.
"We started checking licences and we found that of a number of the bars had expired," the officer said.
During checks, the Kolkata Police found over ten bars in the central part of the city and its neighbourhood flouting all excise norms.
"Though the closing time for pubs is fixed at midnight, they have moved the excise department and extended their timings by about an hour. This is absolutely breaking the rules," officer of the detective department of Kolkata Police, who was in-charge of such raids at city bars, said.