Whilst Perusing http://www.cnn.com (a daily ritual for me) at work, I came across something that made my blood boil and made me feel sick to my stomach. Literally.
A 7 year old Bangladeshi boy was brutally mutilated by gang members because he refused to beg for them on the streets. The boy was hit in the head with a brick, had his throat slit, had his torso slit vertically and horizontally, and then had most of his genitalia cut off. When his mum found him, he was hardly recognizable because of all the blood. This young boy survived and now is the key witness in a national investigation and case building against the gang members in question. Click on the link below for the full story.
After staring at the computer screen in pure disgust and disappointment, I replayed images of my last trip to India in my head. Rag-clad children desperately pounding on windows of cars, 9 year old sisters with babies on their hips and another 3 kids in tow frantically following one man and then another begging for money. Sun-baked boys sifting through garbage with their bare hands for just one morsel of food. Terrified and angry glares from children that are too late to receive any money from tourists. Young ones trudging away carrying the burden of life on their frail emaciated shoulders. Their existence is on the brink of life and death. Every.Single.Day.
I launched into a frenzy to see what I could find on the subject. The results were truly disturbing. One article written by Saad Hammadi and Jason Burke in UK’s Guardian tells of how these children are kidnapped, and then purposely starved and maimed before being put to work as beggars. The article goes on to tell how the:
“…Abducted children, [were] kept for months in confined spaces or even in barrels and deprived them of food. Permanently disabled by their confinement and virtual starvation, the children were then sent on to the streets of the city either accompanied with a woman posing as their mother or alone…”
“”The children are kidnapped, put under the bed and left without food for several months, so that they became weak and disabled…”
The children are then sent on to the street and forced to beg for money. If you’re thinking that the money they make goes into their pockets though, you’re gravely mistaken. Most of the money is taken by the gang and mere pennies left for the children:
“Beggars on the streets of Dhaka told the Guardian that gang leaders took much of their earnings.”
You must be wondering WHY don’t these kids run away the first chance they get? For a multitude of reasons: 1. If found, they would be beaten, tortured, or killed. 2. Often times, to keep the children dependent on the minuscule amounts of money made from begging, gang leaders get them addicted to drugs like cocaine. 3. Even if they run away and find rehabilitation centers, the drug addiction forces these children to run back into the arms of the gang leaders and ultimately back on the streets.
In India, the 1959 Bombay Beggary Prevention Act makes begging illegal; this law is virtually ineffective because Mumbai alone brings in $3.6 million a year from begging. These numbers are higher in Delhi, with $7 million being collected by the 30,000+ child beggars.
A report by the Human Rights Commission in India said that a lot of the kidnapped children are :
“Working as cheap forced labour in illegal factories, establishments, homes, exploited as sex slaves or forced into the child porn industry, as camel jockeys in the Gulf countries, as child beggars in begging rackets, as victims of illegal adoptions or forced marriages, or perhaps, worse than any of these, as victims of organ trade and even grotesque cannibalism.”
Feel sick yet? In July of 2006, a team of special investigation reporters from CNN IBN found concrete evidence that there existed a ‘Beggar Mafia” in Mumbai. This mafia worked in conjunction with crooked doctors to amputate the limbs of healthy children AND adults to force them into begging.
“For the greed of earning a few substantial extra bucks, these doctors are ready to forget their professional ethics and code of conduct. The investigation reveals the brutal truth of these doctors, who charge large sums of money and comply with the Beggar Mafia in amputating limbs of perfectly normal people and force them into begging.”
One doctor’s solution to a guilt-free conscience was to:
“induce gangrene in the healthy limb in order to justify the amputation.”
Every single day hundreds and thousands of children are being abducted, starved, and mutilated to serve the purpose of unspeakably evil people. When these people have used the children and have gotten rid of them, they leave behind a generation of homeless, drug addicted, heavily starved, and often times substantially mutilated children. What will happen to them as they get older…if they get older. Spread the word and help raise awareness because every child matters.