Servants of the Goddess
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Mariamma lost her mother, a devadasi, when she was three years old. At eleven, she was dedicated and given to a truck driver who kept her at a brothel in Goa. At thirteen, she bore a son, and at fifteen, she died of Hepatitis B. Read what Mariamma has to say about her life in the book.

In south India’s poverty belt, where drought and crop failure are common, adults go to bed hungry on a regular basis so that their children will have enough to eat. As soon as they are old enough to earn in the fields, children are pulled from school.

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Lalita was slated for dedication when she was six years old. She already wears the red and white bead necklace that signifies her service to the goddess.

How You Can Help

The Devadasi Trust

End modern-day slavery and trafficking of children in south India now.

Donate Now to the
Devadasi Trust Fund

When you donate to the Devadasi Trust Fund your money will be channeled through the Charities Aid Foundation of America to NGOs in India working to empower and educate communities that feed into the devadasi system. Donations from US tax payers are tax deductible.

You can make a difference.

So far three NGOs have been selected:

Apne Aap Women's Collective (AAWC), founded in 1998, is an anti-trafficking organization that serves the women and children of Kamathipura, the red-light district of Mumbai, including many members of the devadasi community. AAWC operates three programs: Umeed for women in brothel-based prostitution (ages 18+), Udaan for daughters of Umeed members and other girls living in the red light area (ages 6-18), and Umang for toddlers of Umeed members and children living in the red light area (ages 2-5). In the past 15 years, 100% of Udaan graduates have found jobs outside of prostitution. One recent graduate, the daughter of a devadasi, has recently received a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to attend college in the States. Please check out the amazing work AAWC is doing: AAWC website.

Chaitanya Mahila Sangha (CMS) is a women's collective currently working with more than 4752 sex workers in Bagalkot district, Karnataka. Founded in 2001, CMS has successfully worked with several agencies, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for HIV/AIDS prevention. They also provide care and support for destitute and distressed sex-workers (most of them devadasis). Recently they have added a new initiative aiming to provide vocational training (embroidery and handicraft).
Chaitanya Mahila Sangha website

MYRADA, founded in 1968, has successfully organized the devadasi women of Belgaum District, Karnataka, into a women's collective, MASS, to work for their own social and economic development. In addition to education and vocational training, they have recently added prevention of child trafficking to their mission. MASS is now expanding their operations to the Bijapur and Bagalkot districts of Karnataka. Catherine Rubin Kermorgant has written about the extraordinary work they are doing in her book.
MYRADA website

The Devadasi Trust Fund is currently developing partnerships with other NGOs dedicated to ending sexual slavery in south India, notably in the red-light districts of Mumbai and Goa.

Please donate now.

More information about the trust and how to donate is available by emailing:


All photos and site © Catherine Rubin Kermorgant