A bizarre story is emerging in Kerala where a few fathers are the villains, playing predatory pimps, selling their minor daughters, in a series of sex scandals that have rocked the state in the last few months.

The victim in the Paravoor sex case is 16 years old.

Her sexual molestation first began when she was 14. On the pretext of getting her roles in films and serials, her father Sudheer took her to a hotel room in Ernakulam and passed her on to a 35-year-old man.

Emboldened thereafter, he would regularly hawk her for anything between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,00,000, casually splitting the money received in exchange with the touts.

The girl’s ordeal did not end even when she contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

Having endured this torture for two years, the hapless girl finally filed a complaint with the police. The case is now with the crime branch. Some 150 people have been accused and 85 arrested.

The accused include an assortment of villains from all walks of life: from a film director, actors of serials, production coordinators to politicians and a police officer. Says crime branch DSP Bijo Alexander, who is in charge of the investigation, “It is pure greed for a lavish lifestyle that made Sudheer push his daughter into the sex trade.”

P.A. Mujeeb, the advocate for a few of the accused in the Paravoor case, also represents the accused in the Varapuzha sex case.

In this instance too, a minor girl had been abused by over 100 men. The main agent in both these incidents was 54-year-old Joshi Joseph. “I am handling around five to six similar cases from Ernakulam district alone this year,” says Mujeeb. “There has been an increasing number of cases where the parents are involved in trading their children for sex.”

In the Kothamangalam sex case, it was again the father who sold his school-going daughter to over 20 men. The incident came to light when the school authorities informed the police. Another schoolgirl from Kollam was a victim of sexual assault. She has been placed under the protection of the Ernakulam district collector by the Kerala High Court.

IG R. Sreelekha says, “When I came to Kerala, the first case I handled was of a girl sexually abused by her father, and that was 25 years ago. I presume these kinds of incidents have been happening, but now people are reporting them. Earlier, there was no venue to talk about it. The cases that have come to light may be just the tip of the iceberg.”