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Every year after the monsoon, Gouri Bhiwde and her husband joined tens of thousands of workers migrating to the west of India's Maharashtra state to cut sugarcane.Female workers in western Maharashtra's sugarcane fields routinely face abuse and rape by landlords and middlemen who enslave them through debt bondage, activists say.The workers are hired as couples.During the harvesting season, which runs from November to May, workers erect flimsy shacks of straw and plastic to live in.There may be a doctor to tend to cuts and injuries, but workers must take care of major illnesses – and pregnancies, campaigners said.Child labor is rampant, and because only couples are hired, girls are married before the legal age of 18, an activist who works in Satara said.ActionAid's Bhatnagar and the activist said they had met doctors who perform hysterectomies.
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