For centuries, bride trafficking has been a booming business in the states of Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan in north India. There is no official government data on the numbers who have fallen victim to trafficking rings, but it is believed that hundreds of thousands of women and girls, mainly from Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand or Bihar, have been sold into marriage.
According to the 2016 National Crime Records Bureau, 33,855 people were kidnapped or abducted for the purpose of marriage. Half were under the age of 18.
Activists believe the scale of bride trafficking is still not properly understood. A door-to-door survey by Empower People found 1,352 trafficked wives living with their buyers in 85 villages in north India in 2014.