New Delhi, Jul 6: The NHRC has issued notices to the chief secretaries and the police chief of all the states and union territories over reports that women are allegedly being forced into sex trade by anti-social elements on the pretext of providing them with lucrative job opportunities.

In a statement on Friday, the National Human Rights Commission observed the content of a news report quoting statements by women arrested during a raid, if true, raises a serious concern relating to the life, liberty, equality and dignity of women, irrespective of caste, religion and geographical boundaries.

"The media report, carried on July 1, indicates that most of the arrested women during a raid at a hotel in Ranchi, Jharkhand, got into sex trade out of compulsion and helplessness. Many of them were pushed into this web by their relatives and some of them were forced to enter into this ugly business to fulfil the needs of their families and could not come out of the vicious network of anti-social elements once got into their grip," it said.

The news report indicates that the victim women are natives of different places, "trapped in the name of a job" and their handlers are reportedly operating from distant locations. This indicates the "depth of the crime syndicate" across the country, which requires a pan-India action against such criminal elements, the statement said.

The NHRC, after taking suo motu cognisance of the media report, issued notices to the chief secretaries and the director generals of police of all the states and UTs, seeking a detailed report on the steps taken and proposed to be taken to deal with the anti-social elements pushing women into sex trade, it said.

Issuing the notices, the commission further observed that despite several laws and schemes in the country for the protection, safety and welfare of women, the anti-social and criminal elements manage to target the vulnerable sections of society, particularly women.

In another statement issued on Friday, the NHRC said it has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports that 30 children allegedly fell ill and five died at an ashram (shelter home) in the Indore district of Madhya Pradesh.

"They are of 5-15 years. Reportedly, blood infection and food poisoning are suspected to be the reasons behind this. Most of the children living in the ashrams are orphans," it said.

The NHRC issued a notice to the Madhya Pradesh chief secretary, seeking a detailed report within one week. It should include the present health status of the children reportedly hospitalised for medical treatment, it added.

The commission would also like to know about the steps taken to improve the overall condition of the ashram so that such incidents do not recur, the statement said. PTI