Sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery just like other forms of trafficking, labor trafficking, and organ trafficking. There are several reasons why sex trafficking is rampant in India. India’s demography is unique from other countries as its states represent different cultures, different languages, and different lifestyles. Many Indian communities and parents traffic their children into prostitution.  Why do parents sell their children into sex trafficking in India? When we are aware of the root issue of trafficking, we will be able to address trafficking not only on the surface but delve into deeper issues and promote societal change through education.  

The Grim Reasons Behind Why Parents Sell Their Children

Poverty
Poverty is one of the main causes why parents sell their children. Many parents themselves become traffickers and sell their children or family members into prostitution. Traffickers also take advantage of poor families by offering children lucrative jobs in bigger cities or a promise of marriage when in reality they are beaten, abused and treated as slaves. For children who have been trafficked for sex,it is difficult to recover from the trauma and the assurance of a safe life after the incident is bleak.

Lack of education
Being educated increases opportunity and an awareness of one’s rights. A lack of education which is directly related to poverty leads to fewer opportunities for work and a lack of knowledge of one’s own rights. Both of these factors lead parents who are uneducated to sell their children so that there can be food on the table and one less person to feed.  Educating vulnerable families and their communities can effectively stop the selling of underage children as they see value in education, foster development in their communities and empower children for the future.

Cultural practices
In India, there are several communities that are involved in selling their daughters into prostitution. It’s an age-old custom that has continued through the centuries. The Bedia, Kanja, Banchhada and Devdasi communities are known for selling children to traffickers, without their consent. Trafficking is considered the norm in these communities. These cultural practices and social factors are a major cause of sex trafficking in India. These practices can lead to victims not speaking up about trafficking or their traffickers because they fear their families and are too young to protect themselves. 

By understanding the reasons why parents sell their children, anti-human trafficking organizations can address the cause at the source. Ensuring access to education, developing infrastructure and increasing economic opportunities in village and town levels are a few ways that governments, organizations, and thoughtful citizens can help prevent human trafficking for future generations.

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