Wednesday, 24 April 2013

India woman speak out on “sex marriages” with wealthy Arabs

Geeta is 19-years-old. She is attending a local university in Varanasi, but she is unmarried and her family is not well off. As a result, she became the victim of what has been described in the country as “sex marriages” with wealthy Arab men, who come to the country on business trips and purchase Indian women to be their wives for a certain period of time.
She recently sat down with to discuss her ordeal with who she described as a “Saudi Arabian man” who had paid her family some $2,000 for one month of “services.”
“I couldn’t go through with it after the first week. It was horrible,” she said, asking that her surname remain anonymous.
For her, it began in February, when a man appeared at her house, offered money to her family and then had a “Qazi” – or Muslim cleric in charge of marriages – come to the house to marry the couple. In the contract, she said, there would be an automatic divorce after the man left the country.
“I was taken away to a hotel where he forced me to have sex with him repeatedly for days. It was rape and I didn’t know what to do,” she revealed.
After only a week with the man, forced to remain in the hotel as he went to business meetings, she packed her few belongings and fled, finding refuge at a friend’s house. There, she has remained, refusing to speak to her family and seeing a psychiatrist on a regular basis to help overcome the anguish and struggle she was forced to endure.
“I will never speak to my family after what they did. I was a sex worker and forced to do things against my will. I am shocked and so sad that this happened. I know other girls who are forced into similar things and it is wrong that our police and government do nothing,” she argued.
Women’s rights activists in the country have pointed out that these short term “contract marriages” are illegal in India and supposed to be illegal in Islamic law, but they are increasing across the country. In a recent Telegraph report, Hyderabad is becoming the central location for the marriages, as wealthy Arab businessmen come to the city in search of girls and young women to “service” them for their stay in India.
In a similar case, Inspector Vijay Kumar reported that one man “had paid 100,000 Rupees (around £1,200) to the girl’s aunt Mumtaz Begum, who in turn paid 70,000 Rupees to her parents, 5,000 Rupees to the Qazi, 5,000 Rupees to an Urdu translator and kept 20,000 Rupees herself. The wedding certificate came with a ‘Talaknama’ which fixed the terms of the divorce at the end of the groom’s holiday.
“The next day he came to the house of the victim girl and asked her to participate in sex but she refused. She is a young girl and the groom is older than her father,” Inspector Kumar told The Telegraph.
It is part of an ongoing debate over women’s issues in the country and one that is seeing young girls and women being used by families suffering from poverty. For social workers in the country, from Varanasi to Hyderabad to Mumbai and Delhi, they are seeing a rise in these marriages.
“We are having to deal with women and girls coming to our offices on a regular basis seeking help and we have to keep it silent for fear their families will force them again to go into these situations,” one social worker told in Delhi. “We just want the government and police to arrest these men and family members who are forcing their daughters into sex work.” Source

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