Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh: A community in Madhya Pradesh, Banchhada, considers the birth of girls auspicious for later being pushed into flesh business. Girls are the breadwinner in this community, while men allow their women to be indulged in prostitution. The place is so much engulfed in the practice, that prostitution has led to the human trafficking in the community.
The community is mainly settled in Ratlam, Mandsaur and Neemuch districts of the state for which prostitution is a way of life. The ill practice is now generations old and the young girls here are prepared for becoming prostitutes.” The districts are also known for opium cultivation, other than Banchhada community where prostitution has been given a societal approval,” Akash Chouhan, coordinator of Nai Abha Samajik Chetna Samiti, an NGO that works for the upliftment of Banchhada said.
With a preference to female child, the population of women is 65 percent in Banchhada community, that is spread over 75 villages. “As compared to men, the population of women is almost the double,” Chouhan said. “All this shows that they give importance to women, but for the wrong reasons,” he said.
For family’s better financial condition, members of the community buy girls from different parts of the state or country. When the girls grow up, they force them into prostitution. According to lawyer Amit Sharma, an RTI activist, the increasing number of women in the community is due to the purchasing of girls from different parts of the state.
“The entire process of purchasing and selling a girl in Banchhada community is done in a very organised manner, with the help of middlemen. Unfortunately, the community looks at it as an investment,” he said. The children are also not properly taken care of, as the community member consider them as objects they paid for.
Neemuch District Superintendent of Police (SP), T K Vidyarthi said “All the steps that police take on the issue prove insufficient as in order to end these evils from the community, there is a need for awareness. We have initiated steps ensuring that their children go to school. They have started getting jobs and our officials also take their classes, especially of the educated kids.”