For India’s “village of prostitutes,” a mass wedding offers hope

An Indian "village of prostitutes" in Gujarat is about to get its first mass wedding — as a local non-profit helps 15 young girls find grooms and avoid the family business.

Nope, it's not Reality TV. For decades, girls from Wadia village have been forced into prostitution because their mothers were known to earn their livings from the world's oldest profession, and therefore they weren't viewed as suitable for marriage. Pimps sought them out, hoping to make a quick buck from the sale of their virginity, and fathers, brothers, nephews and uncles stood by the highway flagging down truckdrivers, according to the Times of India.

On March 11, however, thanks to a local non-government organization called Vicharti Jaati Samuday Samarthan Manch, some 1,500 wedding guests will descend on the "village of prostitutes" for a different reason altogether.

The NGO convinced boys from the local community to marry the girls, according to the paper. Seven girls above 18 years of age and eight girls who are younger will take part in the mass marriage.

Wadia has a population of 750 people of which 100-odd women are believed to be involved in prostitution since before India gained its independence from Britain in 1947.

Earlier, the head of the NGO, Mittal Patel, told the paper: "It was acknowledged that if we are able to find grooms for the Wadia girls, the business of prostitution would die a natural death here. Once the girls start families elsewhere, it would prompt more girls to think out of the trade."

Mazel tof. Or, as they say in Hindi: Shaadi mubarak ho.

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