Religious Practices and Tribal Customs, Not Just Economics, are to Blame for Child Prostitution in India

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Religious Practices and Tribal Customs, Not Just Economics, are to Blame for Child Prostitution in India

Child prostitution and civilizations have gone hand in hand all over the world for over 4,000 years. Ancient religious beliefs and social customs provide the earliest accounts of child prostitution's origin, in the form of both scripture and surviving social systems that have been practiced for thousands of years. It is rather difficult to enumerate or identify all the factors conducive to prostitution, because it is often argued that prostitution has its roots deep in the fabric of society. India is no exception. It is important to trace the history of prostitution within the region, as this is essential to see how practices in the past may account not only for the negative and unequal position of women in present day society, but also the reinforcement of toleration for violent assaults and forced prostitution. While economic deficiency is often attributed as a main factor in the continuity and durability of the trade in areas such as Africa and Eastern Europe, India defies this wide-held belief. Over the past few decades, India has made great progress in terms of economic growth. In less than twenty years, India's per capita income has increased by more than 40% ("Despite Growing Wealth...", 2013). However, despite rapid the economic growth in India over the past several decades, child prostitution is still an extremely prevalent industry due to Hindu practices, Christian and Islamic scriptural precedents, historical and tribal customs, and Indian caste expectations. In the sacred books of the Hindu religion, including the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, there are frequent references to prostitution (Acharya, 2011). In these texts, dancing girls and all other unmarried women in the palace of the Kings were referred to as "Raja Veshyas", which means "Royal Prostitutes" in English (Acharya, 2011). This

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