Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Kutch district of Gujarat is new destination for the Bride trafficking
In 2012, Rachna Awasthi was trafficked to Kutch from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh by Nayan Boochiya for Rs 50,000. The 18-year-old was married off to Nayan's son Hiren, a farmer in Khokhra village. Even while she was struggling to cope with the new culture, she conceived a son in 2013. A week later, she was sold off to another man for Rs 80,000.
If you thought women were trafficked in Kutch only from West Bengal and areas bordering Indo-Bangladesh border, think again. Like Rachna, other girls from UP, Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are living as forced brides in the western Gujarat district.
Agents are making a fortune flogging brides for Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh depending on their age and skin texture. Once they bear kids, most of them are disposed of or offered for sale at a higher price.
According to 2011 census, there are 921 girls per 1,000 boys in Kutch. In rural areas, there are 926 girls, while 910 in urban areas. Even if a rural groom has enough land, he is unable to get a bride. Reason: Girls don't want to settle in villages. Sata, an age-old tradition, has also gained momentum as several men are being forced to stay single. In Sata, a boy can't marry if he doesn't have a sister to barter. But now, men from affluent families are exploring new options where impoverished families are readily relinquishing their daughters.
Hansa Rathore of Ekal Nari Shakti Manch (ENSM) claimed of 50 cases where girls were trafficked from UP, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and were spurned after they bore kids. "More than 20 girls have been trafficked from TN alone in Khokhra village of Anjar block," Rathod said. Rathod was in the city to attend a conclave of single women organized by ENSM. (Ankur Tewari)