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Crime Patrol: Brides on sale, for cash and cattle (Episode 584 on 4th Nov, 2015)

The Inside Story

BHOPAL, Madhya Pradesh

Brides Bought with Buffaloes in MP Trafficking

Brides are being bought in Madhya Pradesh, sometimes in exchange for a buffalo and some cash. Traffickers providing brides, who are mostly 14-16 years old, are reportedly from an interstate gang. One of the girls had been sold for Rs 50,000 and a buffalo, and another for Rs 35,000. The police, however, seem to be buffaloed by the problem of how to curb the crime.

In districts like Ashoknagar and Guna, men far outnumber women probably due to female foeticide. Desperate grooms are turning to human traffickers to find a wife. It's no problem if they don't have deep pockets -- the 'matchmaker' kindly accepts a buffalo as part payment. SHO of Ram Nagar police station in Chandrapur district, Yogesh Pardi, who led the rescue team, said they were looking for two more minor girls in the case.

Sources said the presence of 'brides' from other states indicates a strong network of traffickers. But the MP police seem to be in denial. Poverty prevents most of the victims and their families from filing complaints, and there is a very dense network of these agents, making it difficult for authorities to curb the crime.

The buyers of the three girls would be arrested soon, Pardi added. The girls are mostly from poor families and slum areas and the buyers keep them as wives, so the girls don't complain. Ashoknagar SP Kumar Saurabh claimed that he has not received any complaint of trafficking in girls in the district so far. However, the presence of brides from other states, like Odisha, indicates that there may be more cases like this that have not yet been reported.

Station in-charge at Nai Sarai police station in Ashoknagar, RK Pacholi, acknowledged the presence of brides from other states but saw nothing unusual in that. He cited an example of a girl who married a local resident but wanted to return to her native place due to communication problems. "There are other Odisha girls also married to local people. I know about at least two living in Ishagarh village. But they have learned Hindi and are happy, so it's not a case of trafficking," he said.

Despite the prevalence of such cases, the authorities are facing difficulties in taking action due to the intricate web of traffickers and their deep-rooted connections in the region.

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