The Inside Story
Hundreds of girls are being kidnapped from across the country and brought to two villages in Rajasthan, where they are given injections to hasten their puberty and pushed into prostitution.

Forced into puberty, prostitution
A Headlines Today team has uncovered the thriving prostitution racket in Sodavas and Girvas villages of the state's Alwar region. The team found that villagers were giving the girls - some of them as young as 10 - repeated and unregulated shots of growth hormone Oxytocin to speed up their sexual maturation.

"Gangs from the Bedia and Nutt communities kidnap girls, give them injections to make them reach puberty. The girls are then sent to Mumbai and even the Gulf for prostitution," said Rishi, a social activist in the area.

The kidnapped girls, some of them six-month-old babies, are brought to Sodavas and Girvas from far and wide. They are raised by the villagers "as their own daughters".

"Prostitution is a tradition in our community," said Ram Prasad, a village panch.

Unregulated use of Oxytocin
Oxytocin is injected by unscrupulous farmers into vegetables to make them grow faster and bigger or given to buffaloes by milkmen to boost milk yield.

Oxytocin injections are available across the counter in Alwar and are codenamed 'Goli Number 10'. Almost every chemist stocks Oxytocin although the area has absolutely no cattle population or farming.

"Oxytocin causes several hormonal changes. Apart from early puberty, the girls develop feelings of love, trust and sexual arousal. This is how the hormone is being misused," said Dr Anuradha Kapur, gynaecologist at Max Hospital.

While there are variations of the drug for human use, the injections given to the girls are the ones meant for animals.

The reason is apparent. "Veterinary Oxytocin is more effective and easily available," said Dr B.D. Gurnani, a local child specialist.

The results are shocking: girls as young as 6 or 7 years old suddenly grow up to look like teenagers. Even their age on documents is forged.

"Giving high, unregulated doses of Oxytocin can affect the centre nervous system, cause seizures and have other side-effects," said Dr Kapur.

Wealthy villages
Sodavas and Girvas villages are marked by open sewers, garbage and narrow muddy lanes typical of rural India. But what stand out in these villages are the palatial homes.

The team came across one multi-storeyed bungalow complete with modern fittings, an AC and a solar panel for power. Many other homes were moderate but the dish TV antennas on the roof were a giveaway of the money flowing in.

There's no established form of sustenance in the villages - no farms, tractors or bulls to suggest farming.

"The families are into prostitution since generations. They have been doing it since 1947," said Om Prakash Gujjar, a sarpanch.

For a state fighting a skewed sex ratio tilted in favour of boys, the Headlines Today team found mostly girls in the two villages. "Girls are more cared for in this region than boys," said Dr Gurnani.

The lid was blown off the racket when Delhi Police raided Girvas village to rescue some kidnapped girls.

Police in denial
The Rajasthan police, however, denied any prostitution racket in the area or the use of Oxytocin injections on girls. A local police officer told Headlines Today that no complaint had been received about prostitution.

Investigators are now focusing on the women in the area who have been issued passports over the last few years. They said there has been a mad rush among the women to travel abroad - a trend that indicates a well-organised international prostitution racket.

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