The Resistance of Child Slaves Themselves Will Force the End of Slavery
Ratni was 14 years old when she was sold into slavery, handed over to a family friend who had promised her a better life. Forced into bonded labour as an unpaid domestic servant for one year in Delhi and then another in the Indian Punjab, Ratni has told of how she was raped by the man who was supposed to be her guardian.
She escaped only when, being trafficked through a rail station on her way to another year of bondage, she spotted a group of charity workers representing Bachpan Bachao Andolan, the Indian Save the Childhood Movement, and made her dash for freedom.
Only now that her sister has also been rescued from the same group can Ratni’s story be told. Her ordeal - and that of many others - has stimulated 1m signatures in a petition to end child labour and child trafficking, and has helped persuade the Indian parliament to finally outlaw child trafficking.
Nanuska has not been so fortunate. She is a six-year-old Afghan girl. She was sold by her father to be married off at seven to a 17-year-old boy. The payment is to cover her mother’s medical bills, but one condition of her sale is that her husband-to-be has banned her from going to school. I have written to President Hamid Karzai asking him to intervene to protect her.