Ending Slavery: How We Free Today's Slaves

By Kevin Bales | Go to book overview

8
Ending Poverty to End Slavery
to End Poverty to End Slavery

Twelve little boys from a village called Bochi in northeast India were lured into slavery. It wasn’t that hard to do. The traffickers gave their parents an offer that was difficult to pass up, promising a way out of starvation and disease for each child. But the price of this miracle was the child himself, a soul-destroying choice that no parent should ever have to make. The parents looked at their little boys and imagined their future in this remote village. They saw hunger and desperation, sickness and despair. They saw their children ground down by landlords and corrupt officials, and their own lives of misery repeated in the lives of their sons. Anything, they thought, anything but this. And they gave their children away on the slender hope that somewhere, somehow, life would be better.1

Of course, the promised food and work did not exist, and the boys were locked in little dark rooms, where they knotted wool, making carpets till their fingers bled. Their story is an old one, of parents tricked and children trapped, little hands making money for slaveholders, and a village that every year gives up its children because it is too poor, too broken, and too cowed to know better. Many of the men of the village had already left, looking for work. With the boys gone, the women and small children were left to fend for themselves, always teetering on the edge of

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