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One Geneva-based research center, in a 2005 update on the phenomenon, termed it “the slaughter of Eve.”

“What we’re seeing now is genocide,” says Sabu George, a New Delhi-based activist. “We will soon exceed China in losing 1 million girls a year.”

The date may already be here. In a report released Dec. 12, UNICEF said India is “missing” 7,000 girls a day or 2.5 million a year.

Although India has passed laws forbidding sex-specific abortions, legions of compliant doctors and lax government officials involved in India’s $100 million sex-selection industry have made sure they are rarely enforced.

Several companies, notably General Electric Corp., have profited hugely from India’s love affair with the ultrasound machine.

As a result, a new class of wifeless men are scouring eastern India, Bangladesh and Nepal for available women. India, already a world leader in sex trafficking, is absorbing a new trade in girls kidnapped or sold from their homes and shipped across the country.

As sex-specific abortions increase, the destabilizing effects on Indian society are bound to greatly impact a country with expanding economic and strategic ties to the United States.

India’s estimated $23 billion defense budget relies on military hardware from U.S. corporations, and the U.S. Congress voted in November to permit the sale of nuclear technology to the country.

In September, The Washington Times sent a reporter and photographer to spend three weeks in different parts of India chronicling this problem. They asked: What are the cultural reasons for this genocide? Why is the government allowing it? Who is fighting against it and what steps can be taken to stop it?

Dowry deaths

Sister Mary Scaria was one of two girls in a family of nine children.

Dressed in an aqua-colored sari of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, the nun is also a lawyer and coordinator of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese’s Justice & Peace Commission. In early 2006, she published “Woman: An Endangered Species?” which charged that “female feticide” is decimating half of the population.

She chiefly blames the dowry system, a Hindu marriage practice by which the groom’s family demands enormous sums of money and goods from the bride’s family as a condition for letting their son marry her.

“At a wedding, everyone looks to see how many bracelets the bride has and how much gold she has,” the nun says. Dowries typically consist of gold and appliances, as well as substantial amounts of cash. Defenders of the system say that girls are often denied an inheritance in India; thus, what she gets at her wedding is in effect a savings account she can retain for the rest of her life.

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