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11-year-old Indian schoolgirl forced into domestic servitude escapes, says she was sold

The figures show a 25 percent increase in cases of human trafficking in India in 2015, with 43 percent of the 9,127 victims below the age of 18

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CHENNAI, India, September 28, 2016: An 11-year-old girl who escaped from a middle-class home where she was forced to work as a domestic help in southern India told investigators on Monday that she had been pulled out of school and sold for $15 by her family.

After she escaped from a house in Tambaram near the port city of Chennai on Sunday morning, the girl told child welfare committee officials that she was made to work in two homes round the clock, given very little to eat and was not paid or allowed to continue her schooling.

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“She scaled the wall at around four in the morning on Sunday and asked an auto-rickshaw driver for help,” said Zaheeruddin Mohamed, the member of the local child welfare committee.

“She is now in a government children’s home. A preliminary investigation indicates she was exploited, underfed and not allowed to leave.”

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Crime data released by the Indian government in August showed more than 40 percent of human trafficking cases in 2015 involved children being bought, sold and exploited as modern day slaves.

The figures showed a 25 percent increase in cases of human trafficking in India in 2015, with 43 percent of the 9,127 victims below the age of 18.

The crimes included inducing a young girl with the intent of sexual intercourse, buying or selling a girl for prostitution, and keeping a child as a slave.

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In her statement to the committee, the 11-year-old said she was living with her grandparents in their village in Tamil Nadu state’s Thiruvarur, nearly 300 km (190 miles) from where she was brought to work, and studying in grade seven. Her parents had abandoned her.

“The girl has told us that she was sold to an acquaintance of her mother, who made her work as a maid in his house and in his in-laws home,” Mohamed told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The man who “bought” the girl runs a travel agency and registered the child as missing after she escaped.

The committee said they would file an official complaint against him with the police and he would be charged with trafficking based on the girl’s statement.

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“The girl shudders at the mention of her trafficker and when she was brought to us, she was very, very frightened,” said Mohamed.

According to her recorded statement, she was sold for just 1,000 rupees ($15). (Reuters)

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Bride Sale in India: Buy A Wife Policy

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Human Trafficking
Bride Slavery in India: Abhishek Suresh

Bride Sale: Story of transformation of Indian Bride into Slave Bride

Samridhi Nain

Bride Sale in India seems to be trending in Haryana, a state with the lowest sex ratio, even marriage continues to be a way of exploitation as Indian brides for marriage are purchased at cattle rate and trafficked into the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab.
These ‘brides’ are imported from poverty-stricken states like Jharkhand, Bihar, Orrisa, West Bengal & Assam, where the traffickers either take advantage of the family’s poverty or abduct the young girls varying anywhere between the ages of 15 and 30, according to 2013 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The bride sale practice has been completely normal in the northern states due to the acute shortage of girls because of practices like sex selection and female foeticide. But if the reports are to be believed then even if not a single case of female foeticide takes place in Haryana, it would still take 50 years to get the numbers back to normal from India’s sex ratio today. However, the problem remains as locals & Khap leaders keep refusing to accept the facts at hand. Some believe it is the education of women that is the root problem because they want to marry a man who is also well-educated, whereas some believe that there has always been a shortage of girls but before where one woman would take care of five brothers, now, it requires five separate women to do the same.
As Haryana keeps preferring the male child and that male child grows up to prefer a bride, the best solution available at hand remains of these women who are bought at a price varying on their age, beauty & virginity and once bought, they are turned into a slave bride. Once married, these women can be resold as they are not viewed as a respected member but a commodity as they are not considered to be entitled to any inheritance by the family.
Human Trafficking to Bride Sale
Stencil of Missing Girls Project, Wikimedia Commons
A field study, covering 92 villages of Mahendragarh, Sirsa, Karnal, Sonipat & Mewat districts had been conducted on the impact of the sex ratio on marriage which covered over 10,000 households and found that 9,000 married women were bought from other states. The study was conducted by NGO Drishti Stree Adhyayan Prabodhan Kendra but the families kept denying of any exchange of money for the bride.
In 2016, the ministry of women and child development came up with India’s first comprehensive anti-trafficking laws under ‘Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection & Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016 but the bill faces many challenges and is believed to not achieve its objectives of preventing trafficking & providing protection & rehabilitation to trafficked victims. Activists also believe that the bill will be able to do very little to stop the bride sale.
With such haunting demographics at hand, the hope still remains that sooner or later, the government might realize the need for stringent implementation of the rules & regulations to stop the violation of these young women at the hands of sex traffickers and quell this ‘Buy A Bride’ policy.
-Samridhi is a student of Philosophy Hons. at the University of Delhi.