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Christian Girls in India Being Forced to Become 'Religious Prostitutes'

Friday, June 30, 2017, 14:21 (IST)

Many young girls in India are being compelled by their parents to become devadasis, or religious prostitutes who are dedicated in marriage to Hindu deities and are taken advantage of in the temples.

Last week, Mission Network News reported of a 16-year-old girl named Sumani, who was a participant in a Children's Bible Club through the Michigan-based Mission India ministry, was forced by her mother to become a devadasi.

This is unfortunately common for young girls in India, a Hindu-majority nation, noted Erik Morsehead with Mission India. He said, "There's an estimated 50,000 devadasis in South India alone."

"These girls often come from the lower castes and their parents have given them to the temples as offerings in order to appease the gods that their family follows. It's just a really tragic lifestyle that these little girls are put into and grow up in," Morsehead added.

According to God Reports, girls as young as 11 years old are forced by their parents to become devadasis. The forbidden practice is passed down through generations in India.

But groups like Mission India and Children's Bible Clubs have been trying to break such inhuman patterns by intervening in the lives of at-risk children and families and offering girls a way to escape the life of a devadasi. They have witnessed women empowerment and decline of sexual enslavement through their ministries.

Morsehead shared the story of a woman, Sarita, who also grew up as a devadasi.

"Through an Adult Literacy Class, [Sarita] came to know Jesus Christ, and through Jesus' love and grace, she left that life and she left being a devadasi, which is a big deal. Because of her doing that, Sarita's two little girls will not be entered into being devadasis," he said.

"So Sarita broke that tie, that history as a devadasi in her family. Now her two young children are going to school and growing up in a Christ-loving home," he added.