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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/26/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The plight of trafficked brides is barely coming to public attention.

India is a place where anyone can buy a wife for as little as a hundred dollars. The "wives" are trafficked as girls and sold into slavery, often by their own parents. An entire business model has developed around the practice which has become even more common as demand for labor increases.

Bought and sold, this woman and her child have a bleak future. And nobody is coming to the rescue.

Bought and sold, this woman and her child have a bleak future. And nobody is coming to the rescue.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/26/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: human trafficking, india, brides, slavery, abuse, human rights


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Trafficked brides in India are a major problem, and a problem that officials are entirely unwilling to admit even exists, furthermore address. For anywhere between $300 to $100 USD, a young girl, between the ages of 14-21 can be purchased from her family and kept or sold.

Typically families in rural districts will sell their daughters when faced with economic hardship. Those girls are often sold to "matchmakers" who are supposed to find the girls good husbands. Instead, they are human traffickers who have little regard for their victims.

Light a candle for all the victims of human trafficking.

Girls are usually taken to urban areas where they are sold to other middlemen or to "husbands." Along the way, it is customary for the girls to be raped.

Once sold to their husbands, they are used as domestic labor and as sexual objects. They frequently work long hours and if they become pregnant, their children are given a second-rate status.

Eventually the women are sold as they become older. A typical trafficked bride may be sold three or four times before she is finally sold to someone for the last time. Usually her final buyer is someone who is crippled or disfigured. Her price goes down with each sale.

Wealthier men have an incentive to engage in this practice. For an initial investment of just a few hundred or less, they get free labor, sex, and can sell each woman to recover part of the price.

Police and other officials deny the problem even exists, leaving women with no place to go to escape the cycle. They must simply accept their fate.

Such practices have existed since antiquity, but a modern emphasis on the economics of the practice and the use of technology allows more efficient trafficking. That means more trafficking. In most cases, the women are sold by their families, but in rare cases they can be tricked into the system, or even kidnapped.

For now, there is little the outside world can do, beyond insist that authorities in India change they way they view and treat women. There is a movement underway to improve the rights and condition of women in India, but like all suffrage movements it will take a long time to come to fruition.

The very culture must be changed. Women cannot be viewed as a commodity, bought and paid for, but rather as sovereign human beings with the very same rights as men. Differences in DNA should not confer different rights, or less rights. We have a duty to shine a spotlight on these evils and to dispel the darkness with awareness and opposition.

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