Prostitution Enforced By Tradition

Generations of women are forced into prostitution by their male relatives in the name of tradition in rural Uttar Pradesh, India

Gunjan, our correspondent from Uttar Pradesh brings us this shocking video about Natpura, a village near state capital Lucknow, where for generations, men have been forcing their daughters and sisters into flesh trade.

The girls here are made to start serving clients when they are barely 11 or 12. Since they start working at such an early age, none of them goes to school. No woman here gets married either as nobody wants to marry a girl form this village.

The most shocking fact is that almost every woman here believes that she is just carrying on a ‘village tradition’. This thought instilled in them by their family members and other male relatives in the childhood. So few girls protest or even realize that they are being exploited or their rights are violated.

Natpura, which comes under Hardoi district, has about 50 families. In every family, all the young women work as prostitutes and are the main bread earners. But when they are old and have retired from the profession, they live in extreme poverty, abandoned by their relatives.

However, men of the village here live the way they want. They marry and bring home their brides, whom they protect well, keeping them away from prostitution. But when the same couples have female children, they bring them up only to make them prostitutes.

Gunjan who first visited this village 4 years ago, says that things have changed a lot in past 4 years, but only for worse. Now girls are trafficked to work in brothels in places like Mumbai and Dubai. This is one reason why Gunjan couldn’t find girls of her age to speak with, because they were all working abroad.

Those who are still based in the village, have a clientele that includes several politically and economically powerful people. Since they pay well for the women’s services, men in the village are not willing to take the women out of the profession. The village has no schools, no electricity and no panchayat/village council of it’s own – facts that makes the village a perfect breeding ground of any social crime.

Gunjan says when she visited Natpura, it felt as though the village was not a part of the country she lived in. This is because the talk of empowering women and ensuring their rights etc seemed to be alien subjects as women here had just one reality: Selling their bodies. And this is the reason why she felt compelled to share this story with the world, so it wakes up, takes notice and helps stop this utter injustice to women that has gone on here for long.

Click here To watch more of Gunjan’s videos and know more about her.

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24 Comments

  1. Great work there Gunjan! Just a question – are these women from the Bedia tribe ? Because I’ve heard of prostitution as a way of life for this tribe. You can catch an India Together article about this tribe here. http://www.indiatogether.org/2008/jan/wom-bedia.htm

  2. no,Laina they are not tribes,they belongs sudule cast know as NAT.

  3. they are not only sudule but may belong to various casts.

  4. Dear Gunjan,
    Great job. I hope your story will open eyes of people to do something to help. We run several schools for Dalit-bahujan groups in villages to bring them out of poverty and exploitation. This is easy when outsiders are exploiting them. But this is more tough when family members are the oppressors.
    God bless your writings.

    Moses Parmar

  5. Dear Sister Gunjan I AM very thankful for your hard work and pain for the people in our community in India and our UP State ,

  6. Great work unearthing this! What is the plan now to help this village understand the social crime being committed against the women? Can we get help from any organization?

  7. Great job reporting on this story. Keep up the good work! I am certain that those women and girls appreciate you telling their story and hopefully someday soon ending this practice.

  8. Dear Gunjan,
    Congrats!!!and thanks!
    Really Greatwork.
    This is the real picture INCREDIBLE INDIA!!
    A golden feather in the crown of the So-called dalit leader and ruler of U P STATE KUMARI MAYAVATHY!!!
    We expect more from u
    Regards!

  9. Kudos to the makers of this brief documentary…………..keep it up…….

  10. You have a done a great job! I hope you had a consent from those you have featured in the video! We do believe in raising voices through media by those who are affected themselves…if nothing else, it brings their self esteem back and can live with dignity…Tradition which snatches away the freedom of the girl must be countered…

  11. Dear Dhruv

    Thanks so much for watching and caring to comment! As the article explains, the women who spoke on camera chose to tell Gunjan their story, so that she could, in turn, tell it to the world. These women are trying to raise their voice this video and thanks to viewers like you, their voice isn’t going unheard.

  12. Thank you Mike! Your words are our motivation in telling the stories of communities that are still unheard and invisible.

  13. Dear Friend

    A Lucknow-based NGO called Asha (and Gunjan is associated with them) has started reaching out the women in the village and help them break the cycle of slavery. It’s not an easy job, but at least they have marked a beginning. You can share this video with friends, so more voices rise against this crime against women.

  14. Thanks Rajan! Gunjan is already planning her next story on the ‘Dom’ – one of the most oppressed communities of India. Do keep watching IndiaUnheard.

  15. Dear Gunjan,

    you have done greet job i appreciate you.But i have one question why the govt of india cant do any action to help these innocent women.

  16. KUDOS, THEY ARE SIMILAR TO THE TRADITION WHICH THE BEDIA COMMUNITY IN VILLAGE: VITHAPURA, TEHSIL:AMBAH,DIST.MORENA, WHEREIN THE SAID VILLAGE EACH AND EVERY GIRL BORN ARE IN MUMBAI,KNOW FROM ME THE MAX ABOUT THEM, IT COULD BE SAID AS SOCIETY OF CHASTE WIVES AtND PROSTITUTE SISTERS- IF ANYONE WANTS MORE INFO: merchantsalman@hotmail.com

  17. wow! congrats 4 da awesome work. its preety sad 2 c dat der r still so many women who suffers everyday in der life. dis is truly terrible n pathetic

  18. Saabaash ! Gunjan

    Tum hi itna dare kar sakti thee.

    Congrats !

    Hamare taraf bhi isi tarah ki ek jaati hi Bediya unke yahan bhi bilkul yesaa hi sadiyon se hota chala aa raha hai.

    Isko badalne hetu kyaa karen ?

  19. Great job Gunjan,

    It’s a very delicate issue which you have very graciously brought to people’s attention.

    Our society which is inflicted by the caste structure and plight of rural economics is filled of dogma and lot of evils.

    Bringing awareness about such evils of society is something that I admire . I am sure that this will come to end . My best wishes

  20. really a nice job by VV. Keep it up

  21. Gunjanji,
    Truth and devotion never go unheard,that’s what you proved it today.We would have such thought and idea in our psycho but never got such stream to flow.Your ironic effort proved to be wonderful eye opener to the contractors of the society.

  22. Has Mayawati never heard about this-strange. She projects herself as the mashaia of dalit people. She being a woman has never done anything for such dalit women/community. Such a shame.

  23. Dear do it well . If you need any help i will say you . . . As an advocate

  24. Great job Gunjan………….i really appreciate your this effort.

    Dear frnds,
    India govt have never taken any initiatives for human right issues……..and that is the truth….

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