Journalist and film-maker, Carl Gierstorfer, has worked on the subject of violence against Indian women through a documentary broadcast by the following TV channels – ZDF (Germany), Discovery Channel (United States) and the BBC (United Kingdom). He explained the issues surrounding this film for the CNN site.
The fundamental problem? “The preference for boys, which transcends religions and castes in India”. The fact that everyone wants a son is creating a serious imbalance within the adult population. Men find it difficult to find a future wife and are resorting to companies to buy one. This has generated an economy of human trafficking.
36 year-old Narinder comes from the state of Uttar Pradesh (north-west) where the birth ratio is 858/1,000, “a ratio that does not occur without medical intervention” – in other words, without ultrasound scans followed by selective abortion. He is one of four boys in his family and only one has managed to find a wife. He went on to add, “Only rich people and officials can manage to get married these days”. Narinder contacted an agency to purchase a fiancée in another state.
The richer north-western states that can finance ultrasound scans and selective abortions have the most unbalanced ratios. “The eastern states following Assam, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha are becoming reservoirs for the trading of young fiancées”. The shortage of women, which is due to decades of selective abortion, is being exploited by human traffickers who purchase women from needy families or kidnap them. “It is a vicious circle fuelled by poverty and technological performance,” explained Carl Gierstorfer.