“..Kumar told me that although his uncle worked there was not enough money for more than one one meal a day.
Better-off families in Amni eat twice a day.
The village has never had electricity, running water or land to cultivate.
There are no opportunities for education or employment -
- and the upper-caste families in the neighboring village routinely coopt government provisions meant to alleviate the grim, hard lives of Amni’s lower-caste Dalit families.
Poverty has traditionally fed child labor.
India has an estimated 17 million child laborers, many of whom are visible in roadside restaurants, bakeries and car repair shops.
Urban Indians assume that these children are either locals sent to work by their parents to earn a little extra cash, or runaways.
The truth is that a many of them are trafficked through massive networks.
The poverty of the country, the children’s needs, the public’s blind eye and the profits of this illegal trade afford these networks immunity from India’s child labor laws.
The networks pay middlemen to find victims not just in the urban sprawls of cities like Delhi or Haryana – where child laborers are in high demand for work in mills, factories and private homes – but in far-off towns and villages where poverty pushes people to the brink.
Because recruiters are so numerous, children like Kumar can approach them on their own – sometimes without even their parents knowing…”
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