How Poverty Encourages Generational Prostitution in India
There are 2.2 billion children in the world. One billion of those children live in poverty. Each day 22,000 children die from poverty and it is the rural areas that account for 75% of the world’s population living on less than $1 per day. The bulk of impoverished communities are found in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. In brothels and small villages, generational prostitution occurs out of need. It is considered to be a strategic method of survival for those experiencing severe poverty.
One percent of the population of women in India are sex workers, accounting for 6,230, 000 people. Among that population, over 90% of the sex workers experience generational prostitution. In the Indian culture, in some castes it is traditional to engage in familial prostitution. The caste system in India is quite strong, and, therefore, most children will never have the opportunity for education or non-sexually based work. Most sex workers are born into it. In many areas in India, women have very little chance to escape the ramifications of being poor, regardless of a caste system or not.
Prostitution in India is an accepted way of life and it is confirmed through societal norms. Generational prostitution occurs at almost every brothel. Most brothels are owned by women who were former sex workers, who now employ their children because sexually enslaving one’s children is seen as a means to avoid living in complete poverty. The sex industry provides a large amount of income for urban areas. In New Delhi alone, $2 million is the annual profit of the sex and brothel workers. The average client pays $2.
In the village of Nat Purwa, India, the population suffers from abject poverty. In this community, prostitution is considered to be a hereditary occupation, passed on from one generation of women to the next. As a result of the “family dimension” to the sex trade, men are often involved, which makes sex work an important aspect of the family economy. Women and female children who sell themselves are often the family’s only source of income. Women are purchased for 500 rupees, or $8, and girls aged between 12 and 16 are purchased for 2,000 rupees or $32 dollars. Other villages that are similar to Nat Purwa are Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Bedias, Faasi and Banjar.
Generational prostitution is occurring around the globe in various countries even outside the areas of Asia and Africa, where it occurs most often. In Russia, married women work as prostitutes in full view and with encouragement from their husbands. Often, a husband will suggest this type of work for his wife and any female children they have.
The issue of global poverty needs to be addressed in order to address issues of human rights injustices, including generational prostitution. Generations to come are predetermined to their fate of becoming sex workers. Efforts to end this epidemic have made many countries strengthen their laws against human sex trafficking, prostitution and the purchasing of sex. In both Sweden and Norway, the purchase of sexual services has been made illegal. Studies from those countries indicate that having these new laws has had a profound impact on demand, causing human sex trafficking to decrease significantly. Proven results in other countries indicate that methods to curtail sex working as a generational means of survival is feasible.
– Erika Wright
Sources: Al Jazeera, Ashraya, BBC, Global Issues, PBS, Swasthya Mundial
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