[QODLink]
Slavery: A 21st Century Evil
Bridal slaves
India has the world's largest number of slaves, among them an increasing number of women and girls sold into marriage.
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2011 10:00

India has one of the world's fastest growing economies. But the southwest Asian country also has the largest number of slaves in the world.

"They injected me with drugs and beat me. Then I was sold on."

Jamila, a former bride slave

In the midst of widespread poverty, fueled by economic inequality and rampant corruption, a new form of slavery - bridal slavery - has flourished. Women and young girls are sold for as little as $120 to men who often burden them with strenuous labour and abuse them.

In a country where female children are sometimes considered a financial burden, the common practice of infanticide and gender-selective abortion has led to a shortfall in the number of women available for marriage - something made all the more problematic by high dowry costs. Experts say this has encouraged bride trafficking.

Jamila, a former bride slave, says her traffickers kidnapped and drugged her, before selling her to an abusive man. "He would hit me and beat me day and night. I would have to work all day in the heat .... That's no life .... Is it worth living?"

Shafiq Khan, who runs a grassroots organisation dedicated to tracking down bride traffickers and their victims, explains: "The girls do equal amounts of work in two jobs. They are sex slaves, not just to one man but a group of 10 or 12 men. Apart from that there is agriculture - working on the farms with animals from morning until night."

 
Rageh Omaar investigates the flourishing modern slave trade, asking how 27 million people can be enslaved today.


Click here for more on the series.

363

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
join our mailing list