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Indian woman on sale!

Trafficking in children and women to and from India is now a booming business and, believe it or not, a young woman can be 'bought' for as low as Rs. 1,000.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2006 13:02 IST

Trafficking in children and women to and from India is now a booming business and, believe it or not, a young woman can be 'bought' for as low as Rs.1,000 (about $20).

And in brazen violation of the law, even minor girls are being trafficked, to places as far as the Middle East and the Philippines for prostitution as well as pornography, with the Indian law enforcing agencies looking the other way.

These are among the shocking facts revealed in a path-breaking survey by the New Delhi-based Institute of Social Sciences on "Trafficking in Women and Children in India".

The victims in the trade are from poor families, some of which are forced to "sell" their women because of grinding poverty, or girls lured to cities often with promises of finding them a place in Bollywood.

"Trafficking is, without doubt, a very lucrative business," says the 748-page study, which was sponsored by the National Human Rights Commission and funded by USAID. "It requires a low investment but ensures a high profit."

Over a quarter of the 160 traffickers interviewed said they spent less than Rs. 5,000 to procure a girl, and the cheapest price they paid was just Rs. 1,000.
In some cases, however, women cost as high as Rs. 90,000.

Women were sourced from within India and from Nepal and Bangladesh. They were supplied within India to Rajasthan, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir as well as Thailand, Kenya, South Africa, Bahrain, Dubai and Oman.

The traffickers admitted even sending women to the Gulf, Britain, South Korea and the Philippines for pornographic purposes.

First Published: Jan 20, 2006 15:25 IST