Indian officials in the Indian state of Maharashtra said that their girls are being traded into domestic servitude or they are treated as sex slaves after their parents marry them off illegally.
The chairperson of Maharashtra Womens’ Commission, Vijaya Rahatkar said that they are conducting many types of research into links between child marriage and slavery.
In India, the legal age for marriage of a girl is 18 years whereas for boys it is 21. Marrying your children before this age is taken as a crime and parents who violate the law by trying to marry off their children face a fine of 100,000 Indian rupees and imprisonment.
Indian government have taken many steps to prevent the parents from marrying off their children at a very early age but still the discrimination against girls remains widespread in many rural areas and communities where daughters are always taken as a financial burden and parents continue to marry off their daughter at a very early age in an urge to get rid of them.
By doing this, the girls have to suffer a lot and it is often seen that these marriages go unsuccessful, and do not last for long. There are many cases reported in India where there is a direct and indirect linkage of human trafficking, said Rahatkar to Thomas Reuters Foundation.
Vijaya Rahatkar said her commission regularly receive reports of child brides who are enslaved in households for sex purposes or sold out in brothels and they have decided to carry out a survey for this.
Once a girl was rescued by authorities. She was married at a very early age where she was also forced to work out on farms without wages. She was also abused and tied in a room so that she could not manage to run away.
The surveys are currently carried out in districts that report high rates in child marriages. Adrian Philip who is the member of the anti-trafficking group said there has been a complete vacuum in the research space trafficking and child marriage.
He further said that these researchers will provide data and it will also expose the connection between two crimes early marriage and child trafficking. The people in India don’t believe that this tradition of child marriage is wrong or immoral and hence it is difficult to convince them.
They believe that there is nothing wrong in this practice because it has been carried out for many years. There is also a misconception in the people that when they marry off their daughters they do not hold any claim on their offspring.
The UNICEF reports claimed that the numbers of girls getting married in India have fallen by nearly half in the past decade but still, 27% of the Indian brides are below age 18. This all is happening in most rural areas of the country.
For a country with a population of more than 1.25 billion, it is really a huge challenge to educate the rural class, the majority of which has been living the life of ancient times.
Source: Arab News