I’ve spent a couple more days now researching for my documentary. I spoke to the communications officer of the Esther Benjamin’s Trust, Chris Kendrick, who kindly sent over some information about the work the charity does.
What I received was truly horrifying. It contained stories of very young children taken under false promises and forced to live lives which we would find unacceptable for terror suspects.
I found this article in the Nepali Times, which gives the account a Nepali boy, who was rescued from India. When he was found he was covered in scars, and he spoke of the way that he was treated. They’d barely fed him enough to meet his nutritional needs, forced him into stress positions while he was taking beatings. One of the scars is clearly visible on his forehead from where they smashed it against a wall, truly shocking stuff!
What has come as an enormous surprise to me is that although this boy was trafficked, there are many of them there who had travelled to India of their own free will.
The article states that “Poor financial status and difficult family lives push these children to leave home,” and an estimated 4000 – 5000 do so each year.
After reading this account, it’s clear that my documentary will have to answer the question of what circumstances these boys are living under in Nepal that made them feel that running away to India was a better solution. To what extent were the conditions really that bad? Or was it just down to lies they had been told to draw them there?