Belly Dancers Swoop: Police say they may be in Kenya illegally

By David Sirengo | Tuesday, Aug 6th 2019 at 10:15
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Some minutes to 2 am on Saturday 3rd August 2019, DCI detectives from the Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TOCU) carried out a sting anti-human trafficking operation on Ritham Bar and Restaurant (formerly, Nasha Bar and Restaurant) located on the 4th floor of Diamond Plaza, Westlands. During the operation, a loaded firearm and marijuana were some of the items recovered from some of the patrons at the club.

Sources indicate that prior to the Saturday operation, Ankur Ghanshyambhai Patel, an Indian national and club owner had been on the DCI's radar for several months for engaging in illegal activities at the premises owned by Chatur Suburali Madat- a Kenyan-born billionaire of Asian origin who is also not a stranger to controversy.

Ankur is said to have been using the club as a front business for a multi-million-shilling human trafficking business where mostly poor girls from Nepal, India, and Pakistan are brought into the country under the guise of 'cultural dancers' to perform 'Mujera' dancing.

'Mujera' is an erotic Indian belly dance performed by young girls to an audience of wealthy Indian and Pakistani men. The performances are so secretive and discriminative that admission to such clubs is on an invite-only basis. The only African allowed in the club during such performances are the waiters and cleaners only.

Some of the girls rescued by police said that they had been lured into the exploitative illicit trade with promises of well-paying hospitality jobs in Kenya by recruitment agents back in their home countries. 

The agents facilitated the acquisition of passports, Kenyan work permits, and airfare to Kenya. Upon arrival into the country, through JKIA or Moi International Airport Mombasa, the girls' passports were then confiscated by an unknown Asian man said to be Ankur's business partner.

This was used as a debt-bondage of sorts to prevent them from running away without paying for the cost of transportation, accommodation, and general maintenance while in Kenya.

If convicted for human trafficking activities, Ankur faces a jail term of not less than 30yrs and a fine of not less than 30 million shillings courtesy of the provisions of the Counter-trafficking in Persons Act of 2010.

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