When it comes to children in crisis, India has no rival. The pervasive brokenness within Indian society is harshest for its 44 million vulnerable children.1 High rates of orphanhood, exploitation, and enslavement radiate from a generations-deep poverty cycle.
India has the highest orphan population in the world. The orphan epidemic has robbed 25.7 million children2 threefold:
Without parental protection and care, vulnerable children fall prey to predators who are always on the lookout for child sex slaves or forced laborers.
Surviving on the streets is no carefree childhood—orphans must scavenge daily for a bite to eat to survive.
The future is grim. With no education or training, there is little hope for escaping the brokenness.
Both boys and girls are orphaned, but girls have it especially rough. Although it is officially outlawed, many mothers abort female babies before birth.5 And girls who survive the womb are often without protection and are targeted, exploited, and enslaved more so than males.
Without intervention, generation after generation will be robbed and girls will continue to be victimized.
The unthinkable is happening each day in the red-light districts of India.
Little girls—some as young as 7 or 8 years old—are being forced into the sex trade.3
The hopelessness of extreme poverty spurs on destructive, treacherous situations that put children, and especially girls, at great risk.
Many girls are kidnapped and abducted . . . others are deceived and mislead by promises for a better life . . . and some are victims of second-generation enslavement because their mothers are also enslaved.
Life as a sex slave is horrific, full of terror, abuse, and neglect. We’re told from inside sources that most sex slaves die between 35 and 40 years of age.
Any way you look at it, life in the sex trade is not much of a life.
The paths to sexual enslavement vary, but the result is always the same: destruction of a life, both in quality and duration.
- Step 1:
- A Remote, Rural Village
a destitute family struggles to survive each day with no means, no education, no opportunity for a different life
- Step 2:
- An Offer of Escape
a stranger approaches the family of a young girl and offers to give her everything they cannot: food, work, escape from the poverty
- Step 3:
- A Desperate Hope
the family entrusts her to the stranger with great hope for her new life
- Step 4:
- A new Life
the girl is taken to her new home and place of employment: a brothel; neither the girl nor her family has ever heard of such a place
- Step 5:
- Initial Terror
for days, the girl is kept naked in a cold and dark room with no food or care—the confusion and terror are overwhelming
- Step 6:
- A Brutal Orientation
multiple men repeatedly rape and torture the girl, warning her that attempts to resist or escape will result in the murder of her family
- Step 7:
- A Dark Reality
the abuse, torture, and threats have done their work: the girl gives up, yielding to her new existence as a lifelong slave
- Step 8:
- A Hopeless Existence
once enslaved, the girl faces a lifetime of rapes, abuses, pregnancies, abortions, health problems, illnesses, diseases, AIDS, and eventually death
More than 700 million people in India live on just $2 a day.6
Broken communities in extreme poverty cannot offer the people help or resources for a better tomorrow. In desperation, adults value children merely for the profit they can earn.
According to a report by Human Rights Watch, more than 15 million children in India are bonded laborers forced to work long hours in harsh conditions with little care given for their well being or their future.7
Young children are recruited and forced into organized begging, construction work, and factory jobs. Pursuit of a primary education is a rarity. Abuse and neglect are rampant. Such conditions perpetuate the poverty cycle and increase exploitation and enslavement.
- Operation World
- India Human Rights Report, submitted to the Congress of the United States of America by the Department of State http://www.ncbuy.com/reference/country/humanrights.html?code=in&sec=6f
- US Dept. of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 1999, 25 February 2000