(Mission Network News) — The devadasi lifestyle is outlawed in India, but the practice remains in pockets of the country. Devadasis are temple prostitutes dedicated to a particular god or goddess. They perform sexual favors, and much of the money they earn goes to the temple as a religious offering.
Haida was only seven years old when she became a devadasi for the goddess Yellamma. Her family worshiped Yellamma, and Haida’s mother pressured her into religious servitude.
At first, Haida was mesmerized by the devadasi dedication rituals and processions for her. But things quickly grew dark as she realized what was expected of her. When Haida tried to run, her mother stopped her and forced her to stay or risk stoking the goddess’s wrath.
Fear kept Haida enslaved in temple prostitution and stole her childhood. She eventually had two daughters by different men. By the time she was a young adult, Haida was working hard labor outside the temple to earn extra income and support her children.