INDIA CHILD SAVERS

Across India more than 60,000 children go missing every year. Unreported World explores the dark side of the booming economy, as many children are kidnapped into domestic slavery for the growing middle class and businesses, and others are kidnapped for ransom by those desperate to share some of the country’s new wealth. In Delhi alone seven children go missing every day. Reporter Evan Williams and director James Brabazon discover that the capital has become a major destination and transit point for tens of thousands of children being trafficked into forced labour, prostitution, begging and drug running.

The team meets child saver Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini as he cajoles police into joining his rescue of a 16-year-old girl who has been abducted and sold into forced marriage near Delhi. India’s new wealth is allowing more men around the capital to buy ‘brides’ from traffickers in a booming business that seems largely unchecked by local police. When the team asked the local police commander how big the problem was he said he didn’t know. The team and the girl’s parents are told to wait as Rishi enters a hostile area to save the girl, at one point being surrounded by 200 angry villagers opposed to her rescue.

Williams and Brabazon rejoin Rishi Kant as he launches a night raid on one of these placement agencies. Inside they find a 12-year-old girl and three boys between the ages of 12 and 14. All have just arrived, are about to be sent to their middle-class masters and are confused and frightened. Williams and Brabazon had earlier met an 18-year-old girl who had been kept by one family for five years. She says she was never paid and had been molested and eventually raped by a man in the family. But it’s not just trafficking that exploits the children of India’s fast-expanding cities. The team meets several families whose children have been kidnapped for ransom by neighbours or gangs desperate for some of the wealth they see around them.

This article relates to India’s Child Savers

Find out more about Reporter Evan Williams