More than 4,500 women went missing from India’s West Bengal state in 2013—a 600% increase since 2002 that’s been linked to sex trafficking and climate change.
More damaging cyclones and loss of land to erosion and seawater have worsened poverty and made people desperate. When apparently well-off out of town suitors show up in villages seeking a young bride, the family interprets it as good fortune. However, the man husband takes her to a big city to visit or live, the woman is then sold to sex traffickers.
"Previously, they were just traffickers and women avoided them. Now traffickers are employing young, good-looking men from the region itself who have better credibility to formally marry a girl," said Subhankar Goldar, head of an NGO that fights trafficking.