MUMBAI - After a 10-year hiatus, dance bars are set to reopen in Mumbai and Maharashtra state with activists warning women and girls could be trafficked and abused in these venues but bar owners arguing this is legitimate, needed work.
Western Maharashtra state in 2005 suspended the licenses of hundreds of bars and hotels that featured skimpily dressed women dancing to Bollywood tunes on a small stage for male customers.
But after several appeals over the years against the ban, India's highest court ordered the state to issue licenses from March 15 on condition that certain rules are adhered to.
When the bars were shut in 2005, about 75,000 women were estimated to be working there and bar owners said the women were earning a legitimate living.
But activists and charities feared the women were victims of trafficking and the bars were fronts for brothels.