15/06/2016 1:34 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

Government Blocks 240 Websites Offering Escort Services

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Prostitute at Atlantica avenue in copacabana beach at night, Rio de Janeiro

NEW DELHI -- The central government has banned websites offering escort services -- which are usually a front for prostitution -- acting on the recommendations of a committee set up by the Home ministry.

"The order to block 240 escorts websites was issued to internet service providers on Monday on recommendations made by an expert committee under the Ministry of Home Affairs," an IT ministry official said.

It usually takes some days for Internet Service Providers (ISP) to fully block the sites and, as of Wednesday afternoon, several popular escort websites on the banned list could still be accessed.

However, the move was criticised by some who called it directionless.

"Content of all the websites cannot be blocked. The order has been issued without going into the technical nitty-gritty around it. If a website changes the name or link slightly, it will again start working," an executive working with an ISP told PTI.

He added that the websites had listed phone numbers which could easily be used to track down culprits and control such activities.

Last week, the social service branch of Mumbai Police arrested a famous TV actress, often seen in the crime show Savdhaan India, and her accomplice, for their alleged involvement in a prostitution racket.

In August 2015, the government tried to block several online porn sites but had to backtrack after the move was widely criticised.