Slaves of South Asia
Child working in quarry
(Photo taken by
Mathias Heng during Mission funded by the Society.
Copyright Mathias Heng).
children in Asia are kidnapped or otherwise trapped in
servitude, where they work in factories and workshops
for no pay and receive constant beatings.
an agent from the city arrives in the village. He
shows great sympathy for the child’s parents and a
deep understanding of their plight and financial
problems. He purchases two dresses for the mother
and purchases a cow for the father (but the cow is an
old sick cow which dies after a few months).
due course, the family’s new friend tells them that he
could get a job for the child in the city where the
child would be properly trained, receive wages and have
good prospects for promotion. The parents, seeing
this as the opportunity of a lifetime for their child to
escape from rural poverty, agree.
agent gives them a piece of paper with the name and
address of a non-existent employment agency.
Branded teenage slave in India
The slave was branded on his leg by his master
because he had tried to run away.
reality, it is all a scam. The children live in a den or
a squalid shed, with no prospects and no pay. Many are
beaten with sticks and iron rods and not even allowed to
see their parents. They are branded with red hot irons,
burnt with cigarettes, starved, whipped, beaten while
hanging upside down, chained up, abused in an intimate
way, and kept locked in cupboards for days on end. One
child, Shankar, described his experience thus:
were poked with burning cigarettes on the back and
legs. If we cried for our mothers we were locked
in a room without air or enough light. We were
forced to work for 20 hours a day without pay.
We were kept half fed and beaten up severely by our
masters if we were found talking or laughing among
ourselves. One night I jumped into the nearby
River Ganges to kill myself to escape from this
painful life. We were never allowed to go back
to our parents, to our villages.”
like 14 year old Nageshwar, are branded by their masters
with red-hot brands.
sweatshops have windows and doors barred to prevent
escape. The factory or sex den is guarded by thugs
armed with cudgels and, occasionally, with guard dogs.
child’s parents hear nothing more from the child. If a
parent gets suspicious, he or she may go to the address
of the agency, only to find that it does not
exist. If the child’s parent finally tracks down
the factory or den where the child lives and works, the
master tells them: “I paid for his food and medicine”,
and claims that the child cannot leave until the
enormous fictitious “debts” which he incurred in
keeping the child are repaid. When, eventually,
the police arrive, they throw the parent out.
was beaten for even scratching my skin and my father
was beaten when he came to see me. Ever since I
started working, I haven’t been given either a wage
or a single day off”.
Ashok, 8 years, who worked a 21-hour day from 3 am until
midnight in a carpet factory in India.
“I was not allowed to meet my parents for the 7
years that I worked, though I would often ask for
permission. The only response was more beatings”.
of my friends were killed. They were wrapped in
jute bags, which were tied to heavy stones and thrown
in the river”
children are the face of the slavery today.
material in this report is based on a Mission to South
Asia by the Society's Secretary-General.
SOCIETY IN ACTION
governments and police forces in many countries are
corrupt, the Society works to rescue these children by
organizing and funding rescue missions to rescue these
children from sweatshops and dens.
IS THE SOCIETY IN ACTION
more information, read the Society’s
publications entitled Myths and Facts About
Child Labor ($2.90) and Survey of Child
Labor in Asia ($15.50). Prices include