WOMEN in India are being forced into marrying numerous husbands because there are so little brides — because baby girls are being aborted.
Many of them are from poor areas and are being sold into sexual and domestic slavery where they can end up being the abused wife of several men in one family.
This is being fuelled by a growing wife shortage which the United Nations has warned has reached “emergency proportions”.
The situation is worst in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
In Baghpat there are reportedly just 700 women to 1,000 men of all ages.
‘YOU DON’T SEE ANY GIRLS’
Women’s rights campaigner Devendra Dhama told the Daily Telegraph the situation is spiralling out of control.
He said: “In our region, especially in middle and lower-class families, if you go to houses you’ll notice that you don’t see any girls there.”
Brides are bought from poverty stricken families.
Officially they can be married to one brother but are expected to act as a wife to several others, sometimes brothers and cousins within the same family.
Why are so many girls in India being aborted?
About 15.8 million girls have been killed in the womb through sex-selective abortions in India since 1990, the Population Research Institute finds.
This is because boys are favoured over girls because they bring in more money for their families, where as girls can be a financial liablity.
This is because when women marry their families have to provide for their in-laws.
But if your son marries the families benefits.
Men are also regarded as bringing economic stablitiy because they can go out and work.
Women, meanwhile, are viewed as servile.
Sex-selective abortions are illegal, but the law is ignored.
Sometimes girls are even murdered at birth.
Authorities in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand state, raised the alarm in July after data showed none of children born in 132 villages were girls.
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The practice known as polyandry. Many women are beaten and sexually abused.
Khalid Chaudhry, programme manager at ActionAid India, told the Telegraph: “The women’s condition in these marriages is one of extreme vulnerability and insecurity.
“Their treatment is like that of a slave, living under the real threat of rape, which as per law is not considered a crime when it happens within marriage.”