The Thane Police dismantles a prostitution ring and saves two Russian citizens.

THANE: Thane Police has busted a prostitution racket operating under the guise of escort services in the lake city and rescued two female Russian nationals, officials said Thursday. The kingpin of the racket is yet to be tracked and arrested.The anti-human trafficking cell (AHTC) of the Thane police in Maharashtra said they were tipped off about the ‘high-profile’ racket operating online and targeting customers from the lake city.“We laid a trap following which a decoy customer called the kingpin who promised to send two female Russian escorts. The kingpin, who is yet to be arrested, operated the racket from his phone using an international number. Once the deal was locked at Rs 55,000, the female escorts reached the designated hotel in Wagle estate on Wednesday following which our team that was waiting, swooped down on them,” said senior inspector Mahesh Patil, AHTC, Thane.The women were rescued and sent to a women welfare centre in Mumbai while the kingpin was booked under relevant sections of the IPC and the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 at the Wagle estate police station.Patil said the women had arrived from Russia a few months back on a tourist visa and were staying in a leased apartment in Western Mumbai and had been allegedly pushed into the act by the kingpin. The police said the kingpin contacted clients through a social messaging app and used to send the escorts only if the clients booked rooms in posh hotels.The police said this is the first time in four years that they have rescued foreign nationals in such raids in the city and are investigating the racket further. As many as 71 cases of immoral trafficking have been registered by the Thane police in the last three years. While 171 women have been rescued, nearly 114 people have been arrested for operating sex rackets, revealed the police.

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