Kerala houseboat industry under scanner for sex tourism Kerala houseboat industry under scanner for sex tourism The district administration has initiated steps for monitoring the houseboat industry following reports of sex tourism and possibility of extremist elements using the facilities.
Aug 31, , The district administration has initiated steps for monitoring the houseboat industry following reports of sex tourism and possibility of extremist elements using the facilities. The move follows an alert from additional director general of police intelligence A Hemachandran.
District collector N Padmakumar has sought reports from the district police chief and the port officer— who is responsible for issuing licences to houseboats—in this regard. He wanted us to take action against sex tourism and check details of those renting these houseboats. He even warned us that houseboats could turn a safe haven for extremists," Padmakumar said. He said the district administration would soon form squads in association with port department and police and start raiding houseboats in September.
People associated with the industry confirmed reports of sex tourism. However, we try to avoid such guests," said Akhil, a houseboat employee from Muhamma. Anu Renjith, district manager of state AIDS control society's 'Suraksha' project, said of 1, sex workers in Alappuzha worked in association with the industry. She said only 20 houseboat operators had allowed the society to install condom boxes in their boats as part of its safe-sex initiative.
Tourists enjoy a ride aboard a houseboat in the backwaters of Alappuzha, some kms north of Thiruvananthapuram, capital of India's southern state of Kerala. AFP Photo District tourism promotion council secretary C Pradeep also said not all houseboat operators followed its directives.
We had stopped giving permission for new houseboats last year but new houseboats are still being launched. R R Joshiraj, a major houseboat operator, said the industry never encouraged sex tourism. But the majority are ready to cooperate with the government in cracking down such illegal practices," he added.
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