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.
Aseeba Sheikh was beaten up and had her food restricted when she refused to accept a marriage fixed for her by her father. With her mother’s help Sheikh contacted the authorities who prevented the marriage and put her in KGBV, however her mother received beatings from the whole family for helping stop the marriage.
My father wanted to get me married when I was in Class X. The boy was from Warangal District. My mother and I did not like it and we were beaten up, refused food, scolded and pressurised. We were forced to agree to the engagement. I went to the school girls committee, presented my case and cried. The committee called the MRO and police and informed them. They stopped the marriage. When I was going for the pre-final exam, my father stopped me and my mother and we were beaten up once again. We both left the house and went to Suryapet not knowing what to do. We contacted MVF. The local police and revenue officials decided to admit me in KGBV. My mother went home and was beaten up by the whole family. They wanted to know where I was. At midnight, people on 20 bikes came to the house of the MVF staff to threaten him. He immediately called up the SI. He asked them all to come to the police station. They went away after that. Next morning the girl’s family was summoned to the police station The MVF staff also went to the station. My family gave an undertaking that they would not get me married and took me home. The SI convinced the school headmaster to let me take the missed pre-final exams. Now I am studying in Class XI.
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’