India's Devadasi System

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Women bathe in a communal bathing area before worshipping at the Yellamma temple during the Yellamma Jatre (fesival) in Saundatti, India. As part of Yellamma custom, all worshippers must wash before worshipping and during the full moon festical, young girls from impoverished lower caste families are "married" to the goddess Yellamma to appease her.  Once they are married to Yellamma, they are regarded as servants to the goddess and must perform temple duties as well as satisfy the sexual needs of the priests and other men.  They may no longer marry a mortal and often end up being sold by unscrupulous priests to pimps who take them to work in the red-light districts of India's urban areas.