O brave new world
Jolene Tan // 7 June 2010
Brace yourselves: you’ll need a strong stomach for this one.
Here is a story (via Womanist Musings) of girls in the Sodavas and Girvas villages of Rajasthan, many of whom are kidnapped in infancy and brought there. When aged 6-10, they are repeatedly injected with animal oxytocin to induce early puberty and feelings of trust, and then sold into the sex trade around India and even internationally to the Middle East. Reporters say that this is being described as “tradition” and has been going on for decades in the face of police neglect.
The drug in question is sold over the counter, and is otherwise used for veterinary purposes.
Reporter: We’re talking about that injection that unscrupulous farmers inject in their vegetables to make these vegetables grow faster and bigger. It’s the same injection that milkmen give to their buffaloes for increased milk production. […]
Doctor: …the growth, and all the functions of all the organs of the body will also be affected. And these people are giving it very unregulated. So it also has, in very high doses, it can affect the central nervous system also, and it can cause seizures, also it can cause pulmonary edema…
Quotes from the news videos, which you can view here. (I couldn’t understand some of the interviews in Part 4, but most of it is in English.) At one point the reporters examine the economy of the villages and conclude that they are hugely reliant on the earnings of this trade. “They cultivate absolutely nothing.”
I notice that all the interviews with villagers feature men. I wonder what the girls themselves, and any other women who live in the village, would have to say.
Update: DV in comments has suggested that oxytocin is unlikely to have the effects either on vegetables or (in terms of inducing puberty) human girls that are being claimed. I don’t have the expertise to comment on the exact effects of the injections, but there seems to be an ongoing controversy in India about farmers using oxytocin on vegetables whatever its actual consequences may be. Moreover, even if the people administering the injections to girls are wholly misinformed about what it achieves, the news interviews nevertheless seem to corroborate their activities and intentions.