India’s Female Shortage Leads to Wife-Renting

AP, Jun. 19, 2006

New Delhi—Some husbands in western India are renting out their wives to other men, cashing in on a shortage of single women available for marriage, according to a news report Monday.

Atta Prajapati, a farm worker who lives in Gujarat state, leases out his wife Laxmi to a wealthy landowner for $175 US a month, the Times of India reported, citing unidentified police officials. A farm worker earns a monthly minimum wage of around $22.

Laxmi is expected to live with the man, look after him and his house, and have sex with him, the report said.

The Times said this was not an isolated incident in the western state, and that several men rent their wives to other men on a month-by-month basis.

Gujarat officials were unwilling to comment on the report when contacted Monday by The Associated Press.

The male-female ratio is becoming increasing skewed across India because many parents abort female fetuses, preferring sons to daughters.

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The nationwide number of girls per 1,000 boys declined from 945 in1991 to 927 in 2001, according to the 2001 national census. But in wealthy Gujarat state, the census showed 828 females for every1,000 males, although officials say the number could be as low as 700 girls per 1,000 boys in parts of the state.

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