Indian Sect Pledges to Marry Prostitutes
Group aims to end exploitation of sex workers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2009 6:48 AM CST
Sect leader Ram Rahim Singh addresses his followers.   (Dera Sacha Suda)

(Newser) – A controversial Indian sect says more than a thousand of its members have pledged to marry prostitutes to free them from sexual servitude. The leader of Dara Sacha Sauda, which has a huge following of Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims, issued a call last month for volunteers to help stop sex workers from being exploited in brothels by giving them a respectable option, the BBC reports.

Around 100 sex workers from across India have already contacted the group. "This will have to be a slow and delicately handled process," a senior sect functionary told the BBC. "Many women are HIV-positive. Some have young children and are understandably concerned about their future. We need to ensure these women are protected legally once they are married."