It is estimated that almost 8 million people are living in conditions of modern slavery in India (GSI 2018). The skewed sex ratio in some regions of India has fuelled the trafficking and selling of women and young girls as brides within India. Women are reportedly sold off into marriage by their families, sometimes at a young age, and end up enduring severe abuse, rape and exploitation by their husbands. It is also reported that women and girls from impoverished backgrounds have been lured by promises of marriage by younger men from urban areas, then forced into sex work once married.
Jabbu Anjali wanted to continue her studies, however was forced to marry after her parents postponed for just one year. After marriage, Jabbu Anjali was forced to undetake all the domestic work and care for her sisiter-in-law's children.
I did not want to get married at all. I wanted to study since I was doing well. I gathered courage to contact MVF volunteers and asked them to help me out of marriage. After a lot of negotiations, my parents postponed the marriage by one year. But they were under great pressure from my in-laws, and I was married stealthily to Anjaiah who was then 22 and had graduated with a BA degree. I was forced to work and take care of my sister-in-law’s two children. It seems they have brought me to this house to work like a slave. The children don’t care for me, or listen to me. They complain to my mother-in-law that I am not taking good care of them. Is it wrong if I ask them to eat, study and be tidy? I have my hands full, slogging from morning to night, so I do not do wage work. I have a MNREGA job card and my husband proxies for me and earns the daily wage.
Narrative provided by M Venkatarangaiya Foundation in their report ‘…and they never lived happily ever after. The battle for justice goes on: Voices of married girls in Telangana’