Connect to share and comment

India, explained

For India's "village of prostitutes," a mass wedding offers hope

For decades, pimps flourished here because prostitutes' daughters were viewed as unsuitable for marriage
Mass wedding prostitutesEnlarge
Indian sex workers (L) sit outside their houses in the red light district of Kamathipura in Mumbai on August 23, 2010. Prostitution is illegal in India but police often turn a blind eye to the trade. There are around 1.2 million sex workers in the country, according to the National AIDS Control Organisation. (PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

An Indian "village of prostitutes" in Gujarat is about to get its first mass wedding -- as a local non-profit helps 15 young girls find grooms and avoid the family business.

Nope, it's not Reality TV. For decades, girls from Wadia village have been forced into prostitution because their mothers were known to earn their livings from the world's oldest profession, and therefore they weren't viewed as suitable for marriage. Pimps sought them out, hoping to make a quick buck from the sale of their virginity, and fathers, brothers, nephews and uncles stood by the highway flagging down truckdrivers, according to the Times of India.

On March 11, however, thanks to a local non-government organization called Vicharti Jaati Samuday Samarthan Manch, some 1,500 wedding guests will descend on the "village of prostitutes" for a different reason altogether.

The NGO convinced boys from the local community to marry the girls, according to the paper. Seven girls above 18 years of age and eight girls who are younger will take part in the mass marriage.

Wadia has a population of 750 people of which 100-odd women are believed to be involved in prostitution since before India gained its independence from Britain in 1947.

Earlier, the head of the NGO, Mittal Patel, told the paper: "It was acknowledged that if we are able to find grooms for the Wadia girls, the business of prostitution would die a natural death here. Once the girls start families elsewhere, it would prompt more girls to think out of the trade."

Mazel tof. Or, as they say in Hindi: Shaadi mubarak ho.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/india/india-prostitutes-mass-wedding

.

Featured Slideshow

The 2013 World Press Photo Awards

Culled from more than 100,000 submissions, these photos represent the best in photojournalism from the past year.