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Brides Bought, Sold and Resold

April 14, 2012

With millions more men than women in India,  many wonder about the state of bachelorhood in India. 

There have been arguments that this “shortage” of women [as if women are a commercial resource] would force the ‘gender’ ratio to fix itself! But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Offering.  Jaisalmer

photo by Claire Pismont©. All Rights Reserved.

The gender ratio keeps plummeting, and you don’t have communities going into panic saying “We need to find a woman for sex and reproduction!!”   Why is this economic/ “women as commodity” theory not working out the way it was assumed it would?

Perhaps because Indian men indeed view women as “commodity!”  And since there is a shortage of “female commodity” the users have found other methods of procuring women! They are now BUYING, SELLING, AND RECYCLING! It is another response to “commodity shortage”, and is essentially the Indian version of DOMESTIC SEX-TRAFFICKING.   This is a practice in India that is as old as female gendercide, and there are reports that it existed even as early as the 1900s.  Only now, with plummeting gender ratios, the practice is out in the open and increasing rapidly.  It is often referred to as ‘BRIDE-TRAFFICKING.’

Much of this sex-trafficking is in the guise of ‘marriage.’   Each family, community and people involved call it a ‘marriage.’  The girl or woman is sold as a ‘bride’ to a man.  She may be married to one man in a family but is used for sex and reproduction by the other men within the same family.  She is then re-sold again as a ‘bride’ to another family.  Some women are sold and resold up to four times, and there are indications that there are thousands of such ‘brides’ being trafficked in the name of ‘marriage.’ Most of these girls are 15 years or younger and often kidnapped and sold into “bride-trafficking”.

Government officials explain their lack of action against this form of sex-trafficking with, “”If they are legally wedded, what can we do.”

However, from many rural areas, families will often sell their daughters to a commercial “agent” for as little as U.K. £15 

There is one report of a man beheading his “bought” wife for refusing to sleep with his brothers.

Bride of India

photo by Delphines©. All Rights Reserved.

Munni who was forced to have sex with her husbands brothers, has had three sons from them.  It is interesting that all her children are boys, no girls.   It is believed that there may be many more women like Munni in the region. Here is Munni’s story in her words:

“My husband and his parents

said I had to share myself with his brothers…

They took me whenever they wanted – day or night.

When I resisted, they beat me with

anything at hand…Sometimes they threw me

out and made me sleep outside or they poured kerosene over

me and burned me.”

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHERS: Claire Pismont and Delphines are members of The 50 Million Missing Campaign’s Photographers Group on Flickr.   supported by more than 2400 photographers from around the world.   To see more of each of their works, please click on the pictures.
29 Comments leave one →
  1. Lisa Kowalski permalink
    April 25, 2012 11:19 pm

    Discusting, there is no excuse for this to occur in modern times. These girls and women need help and protection. It is obvious that the Government in India will let the violence against women continue until the female gender is extinct.

    • January 31, 2013 11:06 pm


    • July 7, 2013 12:25 am

      The girls need to stop being passive and fight back. In the USA, women attack men as often as men attack women and the women usually use weapons That is because USA women are not taught to be passive.

      Indian women need to train with life size mannequin and dummies in how to attack men. Poke them in the eyes, stab them, cut their throats, bash them in the face and head, knees, shins, and fingers with a skillet or heavy metal object, etc. Also, 16 to 25 year old girls are stronger than middle age women so they should be trained to fight back and not take abuse from mother-in-laws.

      Until they are abused, the girls should be nice. However, if a man rapes or beats the girl, she should wait until he is napping or sleeping then cut his throat, etc. Then take what money she can find and any jewelry she can pawn and leave. If only one girl in ten would do that, most of the extreme abuse against young brides would come to a screeching halt.

    • Anannya permalink
      July 31, 2013 6:13 pm

      One such story does not describe all of India.
      There are movements like these also in rural India:-
      There are many instances where women do hit back.

    • August 2, 2013 12:52 pm

      @Anannya — You obviously live outside India and the media in your country is not doing a good job of informing you about what’s going on in India. That’s why our first job is to inform the public about issues that you are not aware of. Do re-read this article and click on all the links. There are thousands of women who are trafficked as ‘brides’ in India today, and sold and resold. THIS IS NOTHING BUT SEX-TRAFFICKING. CLICK ON THE LINKS IN THE ARTICLE ABOVE — TO NEWSPAPER REPORTS IN INDIA, AND PLEASE BE INFORMED. Regarding the Gulabi gang, do you really know what they are about. Let us tell you. When women stop paying dowry, the husband and in-laws often kill them. Sometimes they throw them out. The Gulabi gang’s primary focus is not to stop violence against women, but to force the husbands and in-laws to take these women back into the homes where the violence continues. There are over 106000 women burnt to death in one year, and thousands more killed in various other ways. Look through our blog — you’ll figure it out. Our first priority is not to preserver marriages, which the Indian thought is, but to preserve lives. Do you honestly think in a country where thousands of women are killed for dowry and there are gang rapes erupting everywhere a bunch of frail women with sticks actually are capable of defending themselves from violence? Think again!

  2. August 10, 2012 8:22 pm

    There will come a time when a mother will not want for her daughter the paltry options available to herself ..
    That is the start of social change .. I see change on the horizon ..But the acceptance of Indian females to such unfairness is staggering.. This is not blaming females .. Just recognition of the distance you still have to travel .. Good luck .. change will come

  3. Nikki permalink
    January 22, 2013 6:24 pm

    The reason India’s sex ratio does not fix itself is because it is low for natiral reasons. India is overpopulated. Females reproduce while males work and provide. Females contribute to overpopulation problem more then males.This is why India needs to reduce the number of females to prevent overpopulation from getting worse. Another coutry that does this is China, and for the same reason

    • January 31, 2013 10:47 pm

      That was about the stupidest thing I ever heard! So we should kill women and girls to prevent overpopulation?? Oh yes, it works much better than contraceptives. Brilliant thinking!
      Furthermore: you should know that there is a man needed somewhere to reproduce –
      women don’t do that by themselves.

    • February 3, 2013 11:33 am

      Exactly! More so, the idea that genocide can be used as method of population control would not be accepted as an argument for any other genocide, even though it was offered for others for e.g. the Jewish Genocide!

    • Siddharth Mukherji permalink
      March 19, 2013 6:58 pm


    • Josephus Richardson permalink
      March 19, 2013 10:34 pm

      It takes two to Tango,dear Nikki. A problem begins with division. If You alone lived in this world,their would not be one problem. But we are all here and living all divided. So that’s were the word’s problem begin. How to serve it. Tackle your side of the problem,that’s you, and I’ll tackle my side of the problem,that’s me. We’ll meet again when you and I understand ourselves intimately.

  4. Nikki permalink
    January 22, 2013 6:33 pm

    The better way to address the problem of Indian overpopulation would be birth cobtrol and female education, to make feales lessfertile and more emmplotable, i.e. more like males. Clearly India needs a better population policy then gendercide.

    Quite curiously the opposite is going on in underpopulated countried, where we observe something that looks like male gendercide. In underpopulated Russia there are typically more females then males as many males get killed at young age or die from unhealthy lifestyle. In low populated Canada, for reasons unknown tome, more girls are birn then boys. Perhapse it is just the nature’s way to balance things out.


  5. heather nicholson permalink
    January 25, 2013 9:08 pm

    Lazy, dirty men! The same applies to all over the world if dirty men could manage it. After watching the crap in my lily white house hold in Canada I came to the reconization that it would happen here also, if they had the nerve to master it. Simply a lack of respect for human life and compassion for anything but themselves.
    This is truly an atroscity against women, they are your mothers, wives, daughters and sisters, without them you are nothing!

  6. January 26, 2013 11:03 pm

    In China, there are more men than females….because of the “one-child policy “that existed….Why does this kind of “bride-selling” and “Female rape” not happen there ?

    • January 29, 2013 12:15 pm

      There is trafficking of brides in China too, which the government is controlling strictly. The government in India does not want to control it, because they feel they will loose out on the “vote bank”

  7. January 26, 2013 11:07 pm

    It is known that the Chinese kill girl-babies. Therefore, also now ..a shortage of females .. Many Chinese men can not find wives , because of the “One- child ” policy …BUT, one does not hear that the men RAPE and KILL the females of their country….as is happening in India…. ??? What are the reasons???….

  8. January 26, 2013 11:14 pm

    The answer to over-population in the world is FAMILY PLANNING… Females must be supplied with birth-control pills or injections at clinics, to prevent them falling pregnant. Men can also implement family-planning …/ by using condoms,especially the poor, who can not fend /feed their families !! …Educte and encourage…FAMILY PLANNING ACROSS THE WORLD!!!

    • January 29, 2013 12:14 pm

      Unfortunately not. When women try to use birth control in villages and slums, they get beaten, some are killed. Men in India think it is manly to have many sons — and keep aborting female fetuses or killing infant daughters.

  9. March 19, 2013 2:48 pm

    What a stupid idea that the women are to blame for to many babies and birth control is the answer, did she actually read the piece by Munni, if your husband & brothers are forcing themselves on you how the hell is it down to you …ooh hang on I’m about to be raped by my brother in law let me just get a condom, really ??

  10. July 5, 2013 5:18 pm

    Women are too passive. They should be taught to fight and kill. At night while her husband is asleep, she should cut his throat, stab him in his eyes with a sharp object, or bash his head with a hammer or heavy metal object. Then take the money in his wallet and perhaps the car keys and run away.

    Or since they have kerosene, she should bid her time until all the men are gone only the mother-in-law is there, she should spread kerosene and set the house on fire. Perhaps even through hot burning kerosene on the mother-in-law, take her purse and money and run away.

    • July 6, 2013 7:46 pm

      Our advise to women usually is to get out at the first sign of danger. Many of the women’s families pay dowries, which is insane. Why pay your abusers. But these are situations where women have no option, and it is very important for the law to first recognize these cases as ‘sex trafficking’ and for the police and government offices to act on them as criminal cases.

  11. October 23, 2014 10:35 pm

    Reblogged this on debashisajena.


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