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Women Kidnapped for Marriage in India Highlight Gender Divide

In India, cultural preferences for a son have helped fuel a growing gender divide. After China, the country has the lowest ratio of women to men in the world among major countries and the proportion is at its lowest level in India's history. About 100,000 Indian women were trafficked for marriage last year – an increase of about 20 percent since 2006 – as more single men try to find a wife by turning to gangs that abduct women.

Published Dec. 18, 2013

More Women Kidnapped as the Gender Divide Grows

Number of kidnappings committed against women in India annually

India's annual gross domestic
product, adjusted for inflation

Number of females in India per
1,000 males, ages 0-6

Number of kidnappings
per 100,000 women in
2012, by state or territory

Kidnappings more
common in the north

Delhi had the highest ratio of kidnapped women in 2012, but abductions have also been common throughout northeastern India. The region is poorer and more rural, and all of the northeastern states have a sex ratio that is narrower than the national average, meaning a relatively greater supply of women. In many instances, women are taken to men in wealthier states, such as Haryana, which also has the country's widest gender divide.

Sources: National Crime Records Bureau, Census of India, Empower People