Installments of Childhood

childHis pear-shaped eyes had a hint of mischief all the time. His nose promised an autocratic charisma with lips that leaked of innocent words and lies all the time. Ali loved to play Gilli-Danda with his peers. A boy of 5 he spoke and knew more than any other kid in the village. His childhood was transpiring merrily in the clouds of dust in a small village.

He lived in a battered hut which leaked profusely in the monsoons. He ate meagrely as there was nothing to eat. An ailing mother waited at his abode, coughing and spilling drops of blood everywhere in the ambiance. Her end was approaching near. His father, a man in his forties, appeared more worn out than the two of them due to the hours of labour he put in each day. His face was wrinkled with a mixture of anger and helplessness. His persona reflected sadness, apathy and frustration. His life was slipping out of his hands like sand in a closed fist. He was not able to offer even two square meals to his family. His wife was dying and his son’s health was deteriorating by each passing day. He had nothing to his rescue.

Meanwhile Ali lived a carefree life, playing Gilli-Danda in the crooked dusty paths of the village as his father couldn’t give him any sort of education. His life was good until that night. The night his amma (mother) passed away. He wailed, he tried to wake her up from her sleep but nothing happened. She wasn’t moving. He simply couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Why were all the villagers gathered at his home? Maybe they don’t understand that mother’s fast asleep, he thought. Ali’s mother was cremated the next day.

His father lost all hope and left his job. Now there was nothing to eat. It was monsoon and the hut had big holes in the thatched roof so it was close to sitting outside in the rain rather than inside. Ali was starving so he went to the nearest garbage dump to eat the left-over. Meanwhile Ali’s father became weaker and started tormenting Ali mentally and physically, blaming him for his failures. Some days passed and Ali’s father met a man. He was a suited up man with polished skills. He offered a lucrative deal to Ali’s father. A deal that he couldn’t resist. The man was paying 5000 bucks to Ali’s father to take Ali with him. When Ali’s father inquired the nature of work, he got “labor” as an answer. So he “sold” Ali to the man. Ali pleaded and cried in front of his father. He didn’t want to leave his home, his village. But as fate had it, he was whisked away to the lights of the city.
image source:usydunsociety.org

He was awestruck and fascinated, never before had he seen so many lights. He was not alone, he had five more kids to his company. But the fantasy was short-lived as they were dumped in an old building, a building with innumerable kids. They were all getting trained. At first Ali was perplexed, but soon enough the devil revealed himself.

All the boys were getting trained to become beggars. Some were made blind forcefully while some others had their hands cut too to look like ‘authentic beggars’. That was not all. The girls were forced into prostitution and were made to wear skimpy outfits. Soon enough Ali got lost in the crowd of those captivated kids, who were beggars by the day but lived their childhood in the nights that got lost in the oblivion. A childhood that Ali lived only in installments.

Human trafficking is an age-old phenomenon and thousands of children are rescued each year from the grips of this monstrous approach to earn money. Even though some are rescued, there are still millions of kids who are trafficked each year for the business of flesh. Body parts are sold and girls are forced into prostitution. Small kids whom we see at red lights are the kids who need to go to the school each morning and not some red light area. The UN has released its latest assessment on human trafficking and the numbers are appalling. The report calls for changes in crime fighting priorities and coordinated efforts between agencies and governments. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – The numbers may shock you.

image source:bawso.org.ukNUMBER OF VICTIMS AT ANY GIVEN TIME ….2.4 MILLION
PERCENTAGE OF VICTIMS EXPLOITED FOR SEXUAL SLAVERY ….80 PERCENT
NUMBER OF VICTIMS EXPLOITED AS FORCED LABOR (SLAVES) ….17 PERCENT
RATIO OF FEMALE TO MALE SLAVES (Including Children)
TWO OF THREE ANNUAL VALUE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN DOLLARS
$32 BILLION AVERAGE COST OF ONE HUMAN SLAVE
$90 USD ODDS OF RESCUE ….ONE CHANCE IN ONE HUNDRED

So if you can help please do. Come forward and help these little kids. Don’t be afraid, be responsible!

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23 thoughts on “Installments of Childhood

  1. You bring up a very important issue! Human trafficking is something that people need to know about it so they can do their part! Stories like this one also remind people that there is more to human trafficking than just sex trafficking. It is horrifying all around.

  2. I want to help, I’ve been stewing in ideas of how. Thank-you for this post, interesting how I clicked on this one just when I had been thinking about how I could help this.

    • Thanks. As Tanushree’s partner here I just want to truly thank you. Your concern is what Charity Spring is all about. Before CS, after being a part of many causes for 30 years, I would have simply advised you to find a great charity and send money. But what CS is about and what Tanushree is leading is this conversation right here. Maybe YOU create the new charity. CS is very much for the people who animate and support and create charity. I hope you stay in touch, seriously. You can help with this cause or any cause. Let’s keep this conversation going. And keep asking yourself what you can do to (pardon the cliche) make a difference.

      • Wow James. I’m floored. You and your partner just stepped into my life on WordPress. Surprising, in that, it’s a challenge to take on the very thing I only started looking at (calling me to expand the conversation). And I do have alot to contribute b/c I was a sex worker for years. I was never trafficked, but I can only imagine the horror….it’s still not a walk in a garden with out that. And the horror of children being used in this work, is enough to make me want to drop everything else I am doing. So you two have given me something HUGE to DECIDE. May take a few months b/c there is some other stuff I hope to fall into that decision, but I am definitely going to do this. Question is when and to what extent… *I thank-you and WILL keep in touch.*

        • Redpilloutlaw, this is what CS is about — this conversation. Tanushree has her perspective from India (and her youth) and I have mine from NYC and around the world working for various NGOs. I used to work years ago for the Urban Justice Center. I was actually their first development director, as the founder and I worked together years before at Covenant House in NYC. UJC probably has the nation’s leading project providing sex workers with legal representation, documentation and advocacy. If you reach out to UJC, be sure to tell Doug Lasdon, the founder and CEO, that I referred with best regards.

          So what could you do to help? I’d talk to a lot of people like the people at UJC. Look at your own skills. You certainly have courage and you write well. Maybe advocacy. I was also thinking before that you or someone could create some kind of online creative messaging video contest via Youtube on the issue. Something catches and you have something to keep going and raise money to support.

          The thing is you CARE. You can do a lot with a passion to change the world for the better. Never give up on caring. Things are not what they seem. I firmly believe goodness and light win out in the end. Tanushree believe this even more (it’s harder for me — I’ve been in too many war zones). Love your name there. You and I both choose the RED PILL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_pill_and_blue_pill.

          Do stay real.

          • Hahahaha. That’s great. No one ever catches the references in my name or the name of my blog! Hahaha. Awesome!!!!

            Anyway, thank-you for the suggestion of the Urban Justice Center. I will definitely look into it and Doug Ladson. That’s very generous of you. I mean, maybe I can start off volunteering one day a week and I have office, public speaking and great organizational skills. I do some other stuff I probably won’t post on this blog because I established it as more of sort one area of my life really.

            Wow, you worked at Covenant House?

            The online create messaging is an excellent idea. Wow. And Youtube gets alot of traffic (tucking that idea under my arm).

            I think the fact that you and Tanushree have this type of blog shows that you both have a strong amount of belief. I am a product of the war zone as well, so I know what you mean about jade, but I see so many people living, happy, fulfilled lives, I feel there must be a way for us all to achieve it.

            But I also think if you were in the war zone and came out on the other side to any degree you have a responsibility to impact that, if you’re a conscious person. I just haven’t fully formulated what I’m going to do and knew I had to sort some thoughts about what I experienced first (my blog).

            Thank-you SO much! Your feedback means more than I can even articulate at this point (and I am not an inarticulate person). Lol.

            Take care!

            xo

  3. It’s too easy for most of us to ignore that awful things like this happen. What advice would you give to those that do want to do something to help?

      • See my comment above Redpilloutlaw. Maybe CS can start a conversation about a new way for individuals to make a difference in addition to joining existing causes. I don’t know. But I suspect there are ways none of us have yet thought of. Just look at the explosion of new (every week) online tools for charities to use. Bron, maybe you create a Youtube video contest about this issue. Who knows?

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