In the bare dirt courtyard of a low-slung building in a small farming village, a group of girls chase one another in a round of kabaddi, a local schoolyard game a bit like Red Rover. It could be any small village school in a desperately poor rural area of India — except that these girls have barely escaped a 21st century system of slavery. More children are sold into prostitution in India than in any other country.
Twelve-year-old Aarti Kumari combs her hair at the Kasturba Gandhi Girls School.
A year-old girl in India has become the latest victim in a 'school rape' epidemic - and only discovered she was pregnant seven months after the attack. The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was attacked for an hour in a locked classroom - and while her parents are standing by her they have spoken of their distress that she may no longer find a husband. She might not get a job if people get to know her story. I only hope she is not ridiculed in society and is not judged. What happened was not her fault; she is a victim here. I cannot believe it. I feel her life and future is over'.
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He forced himself on me. I was crying. I've given your parents money, I can use you for as long as I like. Keep your mouth shut.
Nearly six years ago, I wrote a story about how the i-pill, a brand of morning-after pill, was being misused in India. I posted an internet notice asking people who had used the i-pill to contact me. I could not have predicted the flood of responses. Years later, I still get panicky mails from desperate strangers asking for contraceptive advice. Many are from young teen girls, who want me to tell them if they are pregnant. I write back to every one asking that they see a doctor.