Sulli Deals: How dozens of Muslim women in India found themselves getting ‘auctioned’ online

Victims of online harassment campaign tell Stuti Mishra they are used to being abused by Twitter trolls – ‘but being commodified... this was really new’

Sunday 18 July 2021 16:37
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<p>File image: Muslim women in Delhi celebrate passage of law to ban ‘triple talaq’, or instant divorce, in 2019</p>

File image: Muslim women in Delhi celebrate passage of law to ban ‘triple talaq’, or instant divorce, in 2019

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Nabiya Khan, 25, was scrolling through her Instagram on a typical Monday night when she first came across a post about a website “auctioning” Muslim women online in India. Already horrified by this news, when she checked for more updates her heart skipped a beat – there was her profile, including her photos and personal details, posted on the new platform.

The website and app called “Sulli Deals” was created on the hosting platform GitHub and asked users to click a button to generate the “deal of the day”. Every time the user clicked, the website generated a new result out of the dozens of profiles apparently created from publicly available photos of real Muslim women, without their consent.

“To my shock, but not surprise, my name was also there [on the website] and that app had our pictures and names,” Khan tells The Independent. “It said it was a ‘community driven open source project’ and we were basically getting auctioned off, by men.”

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