AHMEDABAD: The mass-marriage of many young girls on March 11 is likely to usher in a social revolution in the lives of women of Sarania community in Vadia village of Banaskantha district, where prostitution is a "tradition" and a means to earn bread for their families.
Vadia is a small village in Tharad block of Banaskantha, about 210 km from here, comprising of people from Sarania community, a de-notified tribe (DNT). For women here, flesh trade has been a norm for generations in the community. Vadia is also referred to as village of prostitutes by many.
All women of the community, which have their roots mostly in Mewad region of Rajasthan, have given into prostitution, willingly or unwillingly due to various reasons like social pressure, poverty and coercion. The men of the families often live off their women's income and also bring clients for them.
The marriage of girls from this community has become a reality after over five years of concerted efforts by an NGO called Vicharta Samuday Samarthan Manch (VSSM).
"Marriage means that the young girls will be saved from the traditional profession of prostitution. As per norms here, once the girl gets married or engaged, she cannot be forced into flesh trade," co-ordinator of VSSM Mittal Patel said.
"In initial invitations sent out for the mass-marriage we had mentioned seven young girls will get married, while eight others will get engaged. But as of today there are eight girls who will wed and 24 have agreed to get engaged on that day," Patel said.