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Al Jazeera – 101 East: India: The Child Sex Highway


January 17,2021

A notorious highway in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is the site of a shocking trade. Girls as young as 10 are being forced to work as prostitutes – and it’s their own families selling them to passing trucks.

The girls are from the Bachara tribe, a low-caste community known as Dalits. Most of the Bachara men say discrimination stops them from getting jobs, so generations of girls have supported their families through prostitution.

Meneka’s mother forced her into prostitution at the age of 15. She now has a two-year-old daughter of her own, and says she feels trapped. “I feel like I am born in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing. But what can I do? I can’t say much because this is our tradition.”

Filming undercover, 101 East discovers girls as young as 10 are being offered to men. While India introduced tougher child rape laws in 2018, advocates say the laws are not properly enforced. “The people who are exploiting the child – they are not customers, they are rapists,” says Asheif Shaikh, the founder of a local NGO that frees local girls from what he describes as sexual slavery. “This practice is like the serial rape of the children … They are raped about 10 to 12 times in a day.” Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of reported child rape cases of any state in the nation

In this exclusive investigation, 101 East exposes the Indian villages where parents sell their daughters for sex.

101 East uses witness testimony and forensic analysis to expose a secret interrogation centre in the country’s biggest city, Yangon. This investigation also reveals how Western tech firms have sold surveillance software and data extraction tools to the country.

In a special collaboration with Lighthouse Reports and Forensic Architecture, we reveal how the military is creating a state of fear.

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