Telecom Operators Launch OTP Service For Girls Experiencing Sexual Harassment

By Nethani Palmani | Mar 10, 2017 08:26 AM EST

Shopkeepers reportedly have been selling mobile number of young girls who come to recharge their phones in New Delhi. To prevent the sexual harassment, telecom operators are rolling out a new system that introduces a one-time password (OTP) to preserve privacy of their subscribers.

Telecom operators have started the OTP service in some areas. Idea Cellular is one the first to have started the service in areas that are but not to limited to Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa and Haryana, according to Deccan Chronicle.

Vodafone has launched a similar service in Dehradun, West Bengal, Saharanpur and Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh (West) and Uttarakhand. Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel is in the planning to launch the OTP service, according to sources.

The OTP service is being launched by the mobile operators due to the rising concern of sexual harassment happening among girls who recharge their mobile phones with shopkeepers, where their personal numbers get leaked to miscreants. In fact, there have been reports in many states including Uttar Pradesh that mobile numbers of young girls were on sale.

According to media reports in India, the mobile numbers of young women were being sold in Uttar Pradesh by the recharge outlets, depend on their age and looks. The numbers reportedly are sold starting from Rs 50 for "ordinary looking" girl, and ranges till Rs 500 for girls who are considered "beautiful".

The issue has been brought to light due to the swelling number of complaints from women about unsolicited calls, registered at a round-the-clock police helpline, 1090, set up by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. According to Hindustan Times, out of the 6 lakh-odd complaints registered with the helpline in the past four years, 90 percent related to harassment of women on the phone.

With the facility, both prepaid and post-paid Idea customers can use the facility to recharge their phones and pay mobile bills. Authorities are hoping that the OTP will help preserve the privacy, and eventually make young women feel safer in the community.

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