A 42-year-old Indian man described as an "alcoholic" allegedly attempted to sell his wife for about $110 to pay for his drinking habit, the Times of India reports.
The newspaper writes that Medula Rajender of Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh, was reportedly arrested Monday following a complaint lodged by his eldest son.
Rajender allegedly "struck a deal" with a broker to sell his wife after his daily wages proved too paltry to buy enough liquor for himself.
According to the Times of India, Rajender had "forcibly" taken his 36-year-old wife, Medula Ammayi, to a bus station on Saturday.
India's TV 9 Maharashtra reports that he then told his wife to take a bus and that a man would receive her at the other end. However, the woman reportedly became "suspicious" and got off the bus at another village. She soon took refuge at a relative's home and shared her ordeal with them.
"I had married Rajender 20 years ago but could not imagine in my wildest dreams that he would resort to such a heinous act," she told the Times.
Rajender is currently being interrogated by police and the broker involved in the incident is being looked for, TV 9 adds.
Human trafficking is a widespread problem in India, where extreme poverty has resulted in "millions of people being trafficked for forced labor and prostitution," the organization Not For Sale writes on their website.
The U.S. State Department's 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report notes:
India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation...
Although no comprehensive study of forced and bonded labor has been carried out, some NGOs estimate this problem affects tens of millions of Indians. Those from India’s most disadvantaged social economic strata are particularly vulnerable to forced or bonded labor and sex trafficking. Women and girls are trafficked within the country for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriage.
For more on this story, watch this (unsubtitled) video from TV 9 Maharashtra:
Translation provided by Riddhi Shah.
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* Based on U.S. State Dept report on Human trafficking from June 2012.