Lhakpa Quendren

Following the recent prostitution case in Gelephu, the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) will begin a study to understand the prevalence of prostitution in the country.

While not many cases of prostitution have been recorded with the police, the study is expected to understand why prostitution is happening and how best to respond. The study will come following the completion of the ongoing case evaluation, sources in police said.

An official from the RBP headquarters said that the study will consider why women engage in prostitution.

“We are assessing the situation to determine what is happening and what needs to be done. We have to find out how they have landed in such a situation. We will pass directives based on our findings after completing the study,” said the official.

Given that the police’s primary role is enforcement and implementation, the official said that there is a need for the local authorities and stakeholders concerned to assess and chart out appropriate responses.

While the recent incident has prompted concerns among the residents, police officials highlighted the importance of evidence to take legal action. “We investigate each case if there is sufficient evidence and then charge them to court.”

“Prostitution is talked about a lot, but we have to go by evidence. Nobody is coming up with any evidence. Without evidence and proof, we won’t be able to charge them. We have to go as per the law,” said the police official.

Police say young people often resort to such criminal activities due to social issue such as a lack of employment opportunities, among other factors. “Everyone is trying to make something to live through prostitution or whatever. They are trying to survive and that’s why that is happening.”

To prevent prostitution and related issues such as sexual harassment, rape, suicide, and drug abuse, RBP is raising awareness in schools, and soon to the universities. “We focus on schools because that is where many problems start so that we can prevent to some extent.”

“We are also taking advantage of teacher-parent meetings in the schools, and other gatherings such as taxi drivers to go and give awareness on crime and drug,” said the official.

According to the RBP headquarters, all Superintendents of Police and Officers in Commanding were instructed to raise awareness as much as possible in their respective dzongkhags and divisions.

“Awareness and sensitisation is one of the most important and effective measures because everyone needs to know. It is our collective responsibility to reduce crime and drug issues,” said the official.

Meanwhile, the recent alleged prostitutes in Gelephu are currently receiving counselling from the PEMA Secretariat.