Children Who Sell Themselves

Source: The New York Times

PATNA, INDIA — While investigating child labor in India last month for a book, I found myself in the northern state of Bihar, an established source of children for trafficking networks.

Here, alongside the expected stories of abduction, I heard of another unexpected and heartbreaking path to servitude. Children as young as 10 had begun to directly offer themselves to traffickers because they could no longer go hungry.

I met 14-year-old Arun Kumar, who told me of his experience.

Kumar lives with his uncle and two younger siblings in Amni village, a day’s journey by bus from Patna, the Bihar state capital.

Two days before we met, Kumar had been returned home by a local nonprofit organization, supported by Save the Children, from a rice mill in the state of Haryana, where he had been working 18-hour days, seven days a week. He had been paid 800 rupees (a bit less than $20) a month.

 

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Categories: India

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