‘Many call centres ran phone sex racket’

Police said over 100 women were employed by these call centres

A few days after the Noida Cyber Crime Cell arrested four persons for allegedly running a phone sex racket under the garb of a 'value added service', officials said investigations have revealed that many of the women employed by the call centres could have connections to prostitution rackets in the area.

On November 5, the Cyber Crime Cell had arrested the general manager of Shimla-based company Altruist, to which Airtel had outsourced its value-added service; two call centre executives in Noida; and a woman who spoke to the company's clients under a fictitious name.

Airtel was named in the FIR for allegedly failing to monitor the operations of Altruist and its call centres.

A police officer investigating the case said, "Two of the four arrested, Mukesh and Rakesh, worked at the call centre. We also apprehended one woman who spoke to customers. We received information that there were many other call centres in Noida, but they had all been vacated. The offices looked like people had left in a hurry."

Police said over 100 women were employed by these call centres. "Preliminary investigations revealed that the women could have been lured from nearby brothels and offered Rs 20 per hour for these calls. For them, it was a way of earning money without having to resort to prostitution. More arrests are imminent," officials said.

Police said they wanted to identify "prostitution havens" in Noida. "Once we apprehend some more women who used to take these calls, we will look for brothels. This case could help us find leads for many others," a senior officer said.

Police said they were yet to send a 12-point notice to Airtel. "Some of the questions asked in the notice are serious and we want to make sure that we draft them correctly. This will be important in case the matter goes to court," the officer said.

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