Trafficking of girls closely linked to child marriages in Guntur: Activists
Roli Srivastava, TNN | Jul 5, 2012, 12.46PM IST
HYDERABAD: Child marriages in Guntur continue to remain a major concern and activists working in the area now say that trafficking of girls from here is closely linked to child marriages. Those fighting against both practices that are rampant in the district point out that while under-10 marriages get a lot of attention and have thus been curbed to some extent, marriages in the 15-16 age group are alarmingly high and need to be checked.
"Strangely, nobody considers 15-year-olds getting married as child marriage. There are many families in Guntur that are pushing their daughters into marriage soon after they complete their Class X. Not only is this a vulnerable age, but many girls are deprived of an opportunity to pursue higher studies," said Sumitra Makkapati, founder of Ankuram, a social group that works with girls and young women. The group has set up a rural resource centre to spread awareness and train these girls in vocational courses in Guntur.
Makkapati went on to say that child marriages are linked to trafficking. "When we interact with women, we find that most victims of trafficking were those married early. They had faced domestic violence, oppression which is commonplace in these marriages. They had either fled from their marital homes or fell prey to traffickers easily," she says.
While the police and also the judiciary have become active on this issue, there is much left to be done at the grass-root level, Makkapati said.