Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera 16 Jan 2020

India: The Child Sex Highway


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.

Australia's highest court has overturned a senior Catholic cardinal's conviction for child sex abuse.
Former Vatican treasurer George Pell was jailed last year for abusing two choirboys.
Many abuse victims say they are devastated at the decision to release him.
Al Jazeera's Nicola Gage reports from Sydney.
The U.S. and its four closest allies have established a joint framework to protect children from exploitation on the internet. One America's Salina Arredondo has the details.

A tanker truck has overturned causing a huge fire on a highway in Indianapolis, Indiana. The driver was rescued by passersby and rushed to a hospital with serious injuries. (Feb 20)

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