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Sex slavery in the name of tradition

India in the truest sense is a land of diversity. It surprises me every time I learn more about the rural India. Female feticide is common in villages of India but there are some communities which wish for baby girls than baby boys born to them. Are you feeling better thinking that the change has started to begin, that Indian society is changing? Let me disappoint you then because you are completely wrong about this.

In the recent past, I attended a conclave on Trafficking where I learnt about the Bedia community in which prostitution is a tradition. Girls born to families, when turn adolescent are expected to take up prostitution as a profession so that they can earn enough money for their livelihood.

This has been infused (brainwashed) into them for ages and so every Bedia girl knows that this is their life since they are born. India is a male dominated society and this community is at its extreme form. The male members of the family do not work at all and they live on their wives and daughters money. Not only that, all the men of this community spend most of the times playing cards, doping and drinking and the only job they do is to find out clients for the girls and women of the family.

These girls are often misled by the very nature of the community and the flow of income. They think they can increase their ‘value’ if they go to city and start doing it more professionally which they do by running away from the villages. They end up dancing and singing in bars and often in the red light areas. They don’t realize that it is never possible for them to come of this web and they are trapped for life long.

Even if some of the girls are rescued, to them going back home is going back to the brothel again so they would rather stay away from it. ‘It is better to get hurt by unknown people and who are not family because we don’t expect anything from these people’.
Some of the girls, who try to break this norm and come out of it, are made to subjugate by the women in the community only. They are immune to this way of life and can’t think anything beyond it. To them their role in life is to serve men, be it the clients or to meet their fathers’ and brothers’ expenses.

The Indian Government is trying to enforce laws so that this tradition and anyone practicing this should be punished. Tradition is just a mere word to cover up the heinous crime this community has been performing openly in the society. This intergenerational  'tradition' can also be seen among Nutt community in Indo-Nepal border. This has to be stopped. Someone has to protest and say NO to this.

I was reading more about this and was relieved to find out that initiatives have been taken in this remote village in Madhya Pradesh, India where Ram Snehi, an eminent anti-trafficking crusader. He has his own ashram which provides shelters to girls who have been exploited or are in a vulnerable situation. Strange to see that in this community, on one hand men is trying to make money by selling of their wives and daughter and on the other hand there are people (few though) like Ram who are trying to rescue these victims.

This leaves me with the ray of hope that if we want to put an end to this, we can. We need to fight this battle together , join hands together to protest against this crime and make this world a better place to live in.

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