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.
Aasrita* left her village with her sister with a man who claimed to be in love with her sister. They were trafficked to Haryana, separated and sold for marriage.
I asked them, ‘Where are we going?’ and they replied, ‘We are going to our uncle’s home, so don’t worry.’ But I was scared.
The buyers took me to their home and I was locked in a room. When I cried, they beat me. One day I tried to run away and they caught me and beat me very badly, but a villager saw what happened and informed the police.
Narrative and images provided Al Jazeera