Paro – The trafficked brides of Haryana
Bride Traﬃcking in India, an age-old inhuman activity in society and flagrant violation of the rights, dignity and the liberty of the victims involved. Haryana, which is notorious for its most imbalanced sex ratio in India, mostly in the districts Mewat, Hisar and Jind are just a few kilometres away from the mall mile Gurgaon and only about two and half hour ride from the Indian capital. The state has only 879 women for every 1,000 men against the national average of 927 to 1,000. Bride Traﬃcking in India is so deep rooted in society that providing accurate ﬁgures is extremely diﬃcult since it is often impossible to track down and trace individual incidents of Bride Traﬃcking. In 2013, a report on human trafficking by The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that surveyed 10,000 households in Haryana, reveals 9,000 women who had been brought from other states. Because of the skewed sex ratio, almost 30% of men in Haryana aged between 15 and 45 are unmarried. Taking advantage of the situation organized bride trafficking rackets have started functioning in Haryana.
Locally the terms ‘Paro’ or ’Molki’ are used for women who have been purchased in other states and brought to these regions. Literally ‘Molki’ means ‘one who has a price’. Affluent skill in trafficking women from poverty-ridden areas of various states of India, mostly West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh, has made the ‘Molki’ or ‘Paro’ phenomenon very common here. The women, who are usually promised marriage, find themselves in these areas where the middlemen sell them to men who cannot find local women. Repeated sales are also made in many cases. Far away from their native states, they are often restricted and forced to work as bonded labour or pushed into forced marriages or prostitution. A Paro never gets all the rights in comparison to a native wife. According to some victims, Paro women are treated more roughly than an animal here. The men who find his requirements are fulfilled or in need of money, resell their women to others. According to the locals, poor parents of other states are so helpless that they are compelled to send their daughters here as they cannot afford the dowry for their marriage. Moreover, they get money in return from the traffickers. A woman is priced Rs10,000/- to Rs 50,000/-, depending on the mens’ needs and age. Prices go down with every resale, just similar to any other product. Most of the times the price remains cheaper than the cattle.