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Where do hairs for fashion wigs and hair extensions come from? The answer is: everywhere, but the majority of them come from China and India, where human hair is a lucrative business.

In India, China, and eastern Europe, small agents tour villages coaxing poverty-stricken women to part with their hair for a small payment. Sometimes, husbands would force wives into selling their hair and slum children would be tricked into having their heads shaved in exchange for toys. There was one incident in India where a group of men held down a women, cut off her locks and took off with it.


A woman gets her head shaved at the Thiruthani Murugan Temple in Tamil Nadu. Photo credit: Allison Joyce

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