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Girls forced to be prostitutes as part of tradition

Written by: Staff
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Bharatpur, Rajasthan, July 3 (UNI) As reports on the Jammu and Kashmir sex scandal flash on the front pages of national dailies, one wonders if it is common knowledge that communities in the suburbs of Bharatpur in Rajasthan earn their living by sending their daughters and sisters into flesh trade.

The Bedias and Nats in the Ghatoli, Bansi Paharpur and Kharkanagla villages have been sending their daughters for the flesh trade to either Delhi or Mumbai, for decades now, to fetch financial support for the entire family.

One scan around the village and you find a quarry, some shops and fields where people cultivate mustard. Ask them if these means of livelihood aren't sufficient for them, they either give a blank stare or a cynical laugh echoes into the wilderness.

Stark poverty and unemployment have forced 58 families in the Bedia community of Ghatoli, where a total of 163 families dwell out of which 70 are Bedias, to follow the inhuman age old practice.

But again one look at at their houses shows older women wearing gold jwelleries, buffaloes in most of the houses and the men indulging in gambling and drinking.

A local NGO, Samriddhi, active in all these villages and especially involved in educating children from these communities, tries to dispel the confusion.

''Poverty and unemployment are no doubt the main reasons behind this. But now it seems that they are content with the way it is and would not even look for an alternative,'' Rano Behen, who runs the NGO, said.

When the girl is 12, the father or a brother takes her to a big city and hands her over to a relative already in the profession.

Some girls willingly go, charmed by the prospects of earning fat money, others have no choice. They continue in the profession till they are 35 and have to retire. Meanwhile, they make a trip to their villages twice a year, during Deepawali and in April with money and gifts for the family.

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