Landour Community Hospital perches on a hillside at the foothills of the Himalayas (it’s the building with the green roof). It was opened in 1938 to help the poor in nearby mountainside communities. Today, their community project team is still travelling into the hills to work with these backward, neglected people. Last March, they began a new outreach focusing on building the villages’ resilience to prevent human trafficking. While arranged marriages are still common in India, this area has been experiencing a new twist. Marriage agents from the plains come up to these mountain villages to offer money for young brides. The girls are sent off to the plains with no follow up or further contact with their families. Often these girls end up as bridal slaves who are considered to be less than servants in status, and abuse is common. Others experience no marriage at all and end up in brothels.
Landour’s team is working to counteract this heinous process by educating the adults and parents in the villages. Girls are still seen as a liability in families because they don’t bring in income and they cost the parents a dowry to get married. So to these parents, receiving money for their girls to go off and get married seems like a good idea. Teaching them what really happens to the girls and helping them value their daughters’ lives is beginning to turn the tide. Landour’s team is working to develop good relationships with local schools, police, and government workers to end this trafficking in the villages.