Many rwas have complained to govt authorities that prostitution rackets and related night brawls have become a major nuisance.
This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. In her village, there was only one path. Six hours later they reached their destination. She had been sent into sexual servitude. Suchitra, now 20, is from one of hundreds of villages in India where centuries-old tradition dictates that most girls enter into a life of prostitution. Mukherjee, a sociologist who has studied sex workers for more than three decades and has written government reports on the subject.
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India has 3 million sex workers, of whom 1. The South Asian nation traffics more women for sex than any other country. The girls often have their virginity auctioned to the highest bidder once they reach puberty. Suchitra, who is of the Bedia caste, shows how the caste-based system determines access to occupations and social status.
Rooted in religion, the millennia-old structure marginalizes certain groups, imprisoning women in a cycle of isolation and abuse. Many female members of the Bedia community, which s about 20, say they are treated like outcasts. Used condoms lie on the floor.
The stench of urine, sweat and cheap perfume hangs in the air. Rats gnaw at piles of garbage in the corridors outside. A concrete slab that takes up most of her room serves as a bed, where she sleeps and does her work.
Customers have threatened her with knives, guns and beer bottles, she says. Government officials and activists working to break the born-into-prostitution custom say that girl levels of illiteracy and caste-based prejudice make it difficult for the women to delhi a living any other way.
Bedia women say they can earn between 1, and 2, rupees a day working as prostitutes. That compares with the average prostitute income in India of rupees. Many of the girls who are raised as prostitutes are injected with the hormone oxytocin to make their breasts grow faster, Pawan says. Unlike in the rest of India, where there is a traditional preference for boys that has led to a skewed sex ratio, Pawan says the Bedia community prefers girl babies because they are a potential source of income.
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To bolster their income, the Bedia, Nat and Kanjar communities are involved in trafficking rings that kidnap children from other communities, who are then raised in their villages, according to a United Nations report. Some of the girls are sent to Mumbai and Middle Eastern countries to work in dance bars and escort services, the report says.
The traffickers often operate with impunity due to poor police enforcement, compliant officials and ingrained traditions of caste, says Siddharth Kara, a fellow with the Carr Center Program on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery at Harvard University. The town of Bharatpur, located about kilometres south of Delhi and the place where Suchitra was schooled in prostitution, is one of the delhi homes of the Bedia.
The community has also spread out into the prostitute villages, located among rolling green fields. At first girl Panchi Ka Nagla looks like many other villages in rural India, with its mud-brick homes, tea stalls and foraging goats.
The women and teenage girls wearing bright purple lipstick and revealing tops suggest something different. They loiter by the road running past the village, waiting for customers. Once the price has been negotiated, they head off to one of the houses or into the bushes with the customer.
Children playing nearby watch the scene play out over and over.
The village men lounge on cots on thatch porches, prodding their daughters and sisters to hook more customers. Keeping the money from the auction sale is considered inauspicious, so a lavish party was held.
Guests from nearby Bedia villages were invited and Manju was adorned with new jewelry and clothes, she says. The festivities culminated in a feast at which alcohol was served and a goat was slaughtered. The current penalty for operating a brothel is between one and three years in jail and a fine of as much as 2, rupees. Hundreds of women stand on balconies overlooking the road, beckoning to passersby to come prostitute. Customers walk through dark stairwells to reach the brothels.
The entrance to the brothel where Suchitra works opens onto a delhi with wooden benches, where the women sit talking and brushing their hair in between soliciting girls.
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Men fasten their trousers as they emerge from ading chambers. Suchitra, who was talking about the dangers of her job, suddenly breaks off the interview to a group of her colleagues trying to solicit a customer who has entered the brothel.
She is too late and the man he off with another woman. Copyright owned or d by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited.
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