ANNOUNCER: Across India, millions of children and young girls are victims of trafficking.
IMTIAZ (speaking non-English language): (crying, speaking non-English language): ANNOUNCER: Will anyone step up to protect and counsel these victims?
"Selling Children," on DocWorld.
♪ ♪ (car horns honking) (train rattling) ♪ JOHAR: I am one of the thriving middle class here in India.
The booming economy here has created some of the wealthiest billionaires in the world.
♪ But there is a dark side-- we also have the highest number of kids in the world forced to work.
(car horn honking) Like lots of Indians, I grew up seeing children working.
And when you see it day in and day out, you become numb to that sight.
It's ingrained in our culture and society.
♪ (vehicle horns honking) But that all changed for me when I was touched by an appalling tragedy.
Cecilia, a woman who was almost part of our family, working as our cook and cleaner, suddenly discovered that her 14-year-old daughter had been trafficked and sold as a domestic slave right here in New Delhi.
Even worse, she had committed suicide.
♪ (train rattling) Her terrible death opened my eyes.
How can millions of children in the world's biggest democracy still be so easily exploited and abused?
♪ (train horn blows) (wheels squealing) I'm starting here in Bihar in East India at a train station, Raxaul.
There has been a tip-off that a gang is going to be trafficking some 12- and 13-year-olds.
Thousands of children are trafficked on India's railways every year from the remotest parts of India.
The victims are largely unnoticed amongst such huge numbers of people.
(people talking in background) JOHAR: Today anti-slavery activists from an organization called Prayas, with the support of the police, are going to try to free some of the kids.
(speaking non-English language): WOMAN and MAN (speaking non-English language): WOMAN: CHHREING: OFFICER (speaking non-English language): MAN and OFFICER: WOMAN and MAN: MAN: JOHAR: Some of the teenage children who have previously been rescued are willing to share their experiences.
(speaking non-English language): (speaking non-English language): INTERVIEWER and RAVI: (speaking non-English language): ♪ JOHAR: What kind of people traffic kids to cities?
The police allow me to talk to a trafficker who has been arrested during today's raid on the train.
(speaking non-English language): JOHAR: SHYAM: JOHAR and SHYAM: JOHAR: SHYAM: JOHAR: SHYAM: JOHAR: I doubt that any of these kids realize the kind of dark future they face once they are taken to the city.
♪ Some traffickers are wracked with guilt, and some even swap sides.
Samuel used to be a trafficker before he changed his ways.
I'm invited to his house.
SAMUEL: (speaking non-English language) SAMUEL: ♪ JOHAR: Samuel had a change of heart when he had met activists working with the Save the Childhood Movement, an organization that rescues trafficked kids.
The person behind the Save the Childhood Movement, Kailash Satyarthi, is among the most knowledgeable in India on child slavery.
(speaking non-English language): (talking in background) JOHAR: Kailash Satyarthi has spent his lifetime rescuing kids from slavery, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in 2014.
His organization has rescued close to 100,000 kids in the last three decades and has influenced hundreds of traffickers to change their ways.
There's a triangular relationship between poverty, child labor, and illiteracy.
And each of them form a kind of chicken and egg relations.
Each of them is a cause and consequence of the other.
If you allow child labor to happen, you allow illiteracy to perpetuate, and poverty to perpetuate.
Child labor is the biggest obstacle in attaining education for all.
Children cannot be educated until and unless they are freed from labor, and forced labor in particular.
If they are working in mines and factories and households and so on, they cannot go to school.
And if they are not educated, they cannot become equal partner in your globalized world.
(vehicle horns honking in distance) (whispering) JOHAR: Every day, Kailash's organization carries out several rescues of kids all over India.
WOMAN and MAN: MAN and MAN: (camera shutter clicking) JOHAR: Their aim is to get the kids back to school in their home villages.
(people talking in background) BOY: SATYARTHI: BOY: SATYARTHI: Social justice, gender justice, economic justice is based on knowledge.
Knowledge is the key to all.
And employment of children is the biggest reason of trafficking.
Because the demand is very much for cheap labor, and if you don't control it, if you don't frighten them-- not only the trafficker but the customers, the consumers, the, the middle-class households... We have to work at every level, so it's a combination of several strategies and efforts.
(people talking in background) JOHAR: Hundreds of parents come to Kailash's organization for help when their kids are trafficked and go missing.
His team has got a tip-off that the daughter of one such parent has been working at a house in Delhi.
(people speaking non-English language) WOMAN and OFFICER: OFFICER: WOMAN: OFFICER: OFFICER 2 and WOMAN: OFFICER 1: WOMAN: JOHAR: After the raid, the girl is reunited with her family.
MAN: OFFICER 1: GIRL: MAN: OFFICER 1 and GIRL: GIRL: OFFICER 1: GIRL: OFFICER 1 and GIRL: OFFICER 1: GIRL: JOHAR: Underage girls just like her end up in thousands of middle-class homes in India's big cities.
♪ Far too many middle-class people-- people like me-- don't think twice before hiring them to take care of our homes and our children.
It's our demand for cheap domestic labor that's fueling so much child slavery in India and so much misery among parents.
LAKSHMAN KUMAR: ♪ JOHAR: There's an even darker side to the trafficking of girls: the sex trade.
That's why I have come to 24 Parganas District in West Bengal.
This is one of the main areas in India from which young girls are trafficked to become slaves in the sex industry.
Rishi is part of an organization that's been fighting against traffickers in the area for more than a decade.
RISHI KANT: OFFICER: JOHAR: Earlier that week, Rishi's organization raided a brothel in Delhi, rescuing a number of girls who had been trafficked from Bengal.
WOMAN: OFFICER 2: KANT: Either the girl are sold for prostitution, or the girls are sold for fake marriages, or the girls are put into domestic help.
But 60-70% girls are sold for prostitution from this part of the region.
You'll find girls from this part of the region in Agra, in Mumbai, in Delhi, in Meerut.
This town's a red light area.
Out of ten girls rescued, seven girls are from Bengal.
♪ KANT and MAN: JOHAR: One of the girls recently rescued from sexual slavery is willing to tell me what has happened to her.
She is now living with H.I.V.
GIRL: JOHAR and GIRL: JOHAR: GIRL: (crying): (sobbing) (sobbing) ♪ JOHAR: There's clearly an underlying problem about how girls are seen in India.
So many are treated as chattels, nothing more than property.
Large number of girls in India, for example, are still sold as child brides-- in effect, child slaves.
Today, Kailash's organization is conducting a raid here in Palwal, Haryana, where a family has bought a child bride from Assam.
OFFICER 1 and OFFICER 2: OFFICER 1: WOMAN: OFFICER 1: (people talking in background) MAN: (shouting, talking in background) OFFICER: GIRL (crying): MAN: OFFICER: MAN: (horn honking) (people talking in background) OFFICER: OFFICER 2 and OFFICER 1: OFFICER 1: OFFICER 2 and OFFICER 1: OFFICER 1: MAN: OFFICER 1: OFFICER 2: MAN: OFFICER 2: MAN: ♪ (car horn honking) JOHAR: It's so disheartening to see the true attitude of the police.
The police are usually the first point of contact for a victim, but too often, they end up as part of the problem.
(car horn honking) It's something that Supreme Court lawyer Colin Gonsalves has encountered all too often.
GONSALVES: When an 11-year-old girl starved to death because her family had no food to eat, she wrote to the administration saying, "Please give me subsidized grain, which is my right."
And the administration turned her down.
And for many days, she drank salt water with a few tea leaves, and ultimately wasted away and died.
That case will be taken up by the Supreme Court.
We're asking for the officials to be punished.
And we're asking that the family be compensated handsomely.
Out of the total number of cases available that should be brought to the court, less than 0.001% are actually brought to court.
So you can safely say that young children who are poor-- from Dalits, and Tribals, and other, you know, depressed communities-- you can safely say that people can pick them up from their village, promise them a job, take them away, separate them from their families.
So the law is not the problem at all.
The problem lies in implementation.
And in trafficking, implementation is almost nil.
The truth is, the police take money from the traffickers.
The victims don't want to go to court.
The police themselves threaten them before they come and give evidence.
♪ JOHAR: I'm in Chhattisgarh, East Central India, to hear from one man whose daughter was taken away and who asked the police to help find her.
BOTH: (woman continues) SARTHI: When people in power, the people who are supposed to stop trafficking, are themselves the beneficiaries of this trafficking, when the police take part and give immunity to traffickers, brothel keepers, and pimps, how do you expect that traffickers will be prosecuted at all?
So if the police agencies are themselves involved in trafficking, who is going to stop trafficking in this country?
JOHAR: Colin Gonsalves's words ring so true when I film secretly at a police station.
OFFICER: ♪ JOHAR: If that policeman is right, then people I have been meeting have been lying to me.
Or maybe the truth is that the problem lies with the attitude of the police.
And it's this attitude that stops countless families from going to the police to lodge a complaint when their child is trafficked.
DALMONI DAS: JOHAR: DALMONI: JOHAR: BISWAJIT BARMAN: JOHAR and BARMAN: RAMKISHAN DAS: JOHAR: BARMAN: ♪ GONSALVES: Neither politicians, nor Parliament, nor the police, nor any state government think that trafficking of young girls is a very serious social crime.
♪ Judges are required to arrest the trafficker, the brothel keeper, the pimp.
Instead, they arrest the victim, so the victim becomes accused, and the victim is kept in jail.
So the victims run away from the police.
They run away from the legal system.
They don't want to get involved with the legal system at all.
And they don't trust the courts to do justice to them.
(crowd clamoring) JOHAR: In the face of the complicity of the authorities, activists from the organization Guria help victims to prepare to give evidence in court.
The organization stages mock trials so that when the time comes, the girls are ready to take on their perpetrators and the legal system.
GIRL: MAN: GIRL: JOHAR: It's really heartening to see these girls getting help.
But there are still so many girls with families in small villages with no support, and on their own.
JOHAR and NAGESIYA: (sniffles) (crying) (sniffles) (kids laughing, playing) JOHAR: SUKHER ORAON MUNDA: JOHAR: MUNDA: ♪ Trafficking affects everybody, but it affects the most vulnerable most.
(child cheering) Scheduled tribes, Dalits, Muslims, small farmers, landless laborers, slum dwellers.
People living in remote areas of the country.
They are the natural victims of disaster.
They are the natural victims of land acquisition and displacement.
So they form the bulk of the traffic victims.
That's one more reason why nobody cares.
Who cares for the minorities in this great secular India?
(people talking in background) JOHAR: Time and again, I'm reminded that there are two different Indias, and that one India is flourishing at the cost of the other.
Nowhere is this clearer than in Ranchi, capital of Jharkhand in Northeast India.
The many brick kilns here churn out the building blocks for the high-rises springing up across cities all over India.
They employ an estimated 23 million workers, all belonging to lower castes.
They migrate here with their children in search of work.
And they and their children end up as slaves, earning nothing and facing daily brutality.
Some activists from the organization Guria have been tipped off about one of these brick kilns.
They're mounting a raid to rescue the workers and children.
MAN 1: MAN 2: WOMAN: WOMAN: SARGANWA DEVI: JOHAR and MUNNIBAI: ♪ JOHAR: The families here, including their kids, have suffered six months of grueling hard labor, but they've been paid nothing.
They're returning empty-handed, with nothing to show for it but their tales of torture.
♪ Soon enough, though, their poverty will force them to migrate elsewhere.
♪ (men yelling) We have to say, "No, we don't agree with it."
The state passes, the police passes by, you know, the administration passes by.
Everyone passes by, you know.
But as civilians, as, as a citizen of this country, we all have a responsibility.
You have people being sold, and we pass by.
And that is the biggest tragedy, I tell you, passing by-- how can you pass by?
We need to question.
We need to continue this whole culture of questioning.
JOHAR: To me, it's clear that poverty is what's creating fertile ground for traffickers.
But why, when the Indian economy is booming, are so many people remaining poor?
At a village, I am welcomed by a group of women who give me one insight.
(people talking in background) (singing in unison) WOMAN: (singing continues) WOMAN 2: WOMAN 3: RAMRATI DEVI: MEENA DEVI: BOLTI DEVI: (talking in background) JOHAR: As I'm leaving, the ladies surround me, pleading with me to take their plight to the government.
(talking in background) Health care at government hospitals is supposed to be free, but there are no doctors and nurses here.
(people talking in distance) The only staff member present is a pharmacist.
♪ It's no wonder that desperate families have to turn to private health care.
And it's the kids who pay the real price.
It really is true that while one India is reaping dividends, the other India is paying a huge price.
And a part of that price is that poor people are being forced to give up their one thing of real value: land.
As I travel to the tribal lands of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Orissa, I see, in the most remote areas, coal mines and massive power plants.
They have been built here to supply the cities with the power needed to keep factories and offices running and the economy expanding.
It could have been a perfect opportunity to create jobs and alleviate poverty.
The reality couldn't be more different.
JOHAR: PATEL: (man speaking in non-English language) JOHAR: While we are filming in a private mine, we are ordered by a security team to move away.
SECURITY GUARD: JOHAR: SECURITY MANAGER: JOHAR: PATEL: SECURITY MANAGER: JOHAR: They keep following us for the next four hours.
(man mutters) Later in the evening, I meet up with a group of people whose land has been taken and houses demolished to make way for the mines.
JOHAR: OM PRAKASH GUPTA: ♪ JOHAR: The government has come up with different employment schemes that promise work for every villager affected by the industrial development of their land.
So how come there are still no jobs here?
♪ (chicken clucking) JOHAR: MAN: VILLAGER: JOHAR and WOMAN: JOHAR: WOMAN: MAN 2: (digging) JOHAR: What's even more appalling is that the failure of government schemes makes people even more vulnerable to the lure of traffickers.
If the state authorities are genuine, if they really respect the constitutional mandate and the laws of the land, then these kind of things will never happen.
There are laws related to children.
But these laws are not implemented because of corrupt practices.
MAN: (vehicle horns honking) Our country's policy making, our country's ethics, morality, the vision of the way forward, is all demented.
We're really in the dark areas of Kalyug.
And people of good nature are all on the run.
But a time will come-- I have belief, actually, I have a lot of belief-- that a time will come when that, you know, level of hesitation, or that holding-back level, will break like a dam.
And India has seen these kind of revolutions in the past, and we will see that now.
Because we have never had the kind of exploitation and use of violence against people as we have seen today.
JAWAHARLAL NEHRU: At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to light and freedom.
The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer.
It means the ending of poverty and ignorance, and disease, and inequality of opportunity.
♪ JOHAR: India's first prime minister had dreamt of an India where kids would be lovingly nurtured.
That dream lies shattered.
In a stone quarry in Kohrar, Allahabad, I have been told that kids here are still born into slavery.
JOHAR and LALA: JOHAR: LALA: JOHAR and LALA: (child crying, rocks clanking) JOHAR: I'm shocked seeing kids like Lala having no choice but to work so hard.
They don't know what the world outside of these mines looks like.
Most of these stones are used to build roads in our cities.
These kids will probably never walk on those roads.
(child crying) JOHAR and WOMAN: JOHAR: WOMAN: JOHAR: It's becoming clear to me that a lot of what's happening in this mine has to do with India's complex caste system.
These lower-caste families have worked here for generations and have long been at the mercy of upper-caste landowners.
JOHAR: BHANDARI LAL: ♪ JOHAR: Whereas the stones that the kids in Kohrar break are for use in India, in mica mines, the kids are digging for a product that is used all over the world, especially in the West.
Recent surveys suggest that up to 20,000 children are working in mica mines like this one in Koderma in Jharkhand.
Mica is a mineral that puts sparkle in cosmetics and car paint, and is also used in electronics.
Most of these mines are operated by a ruthless mafia exploiting lower-caste families in the region.
These illegal mines are responsible for almost 70% of India's mica production.
JOHAR and GIRL: JOHAR: GIRL: (child crying, people talking in background) SURESH BHUIYA: JOHAR: BHUIYA: ♪ JOHAR: How can teachers not teach?
It's their job and their duty.
An activist from an organization called PGS is doing a survey in Allahabad, along with the government officials, on why kids are not going to school.
Joining them, I soon find out that many of the lower-caste kids enrolled in the schools are working right next to the very school they should be attending.
(talking in background) BINAY PRAKASH YADAV and SEEMA: YADAV: SEEMA: YADAV and SEEMA: (talking in background) JOHAR: Poonam here is each year being put up a class despite barely ever going to school.
When I confront the government official, he doesn't have an answer.
Instead, he offers to take me to the principal.
(talking in background) (kids talking in distance) SARVESH PANDEY: PANDEY and TEACHER: PANDEY: TEACHER 2: PANDEY: (applause) TEACHER 2: TEACHER 3: TEACHER 2: TEACHER 3: TEACHER 2 and TEACHER 1: ♪ JOHAR: With the humiliation and trauma that lower-caste kids like Poonam face at government schools, it's becoming obvious to me why they might prefer to stay away.
As a recent father, ensuring that my daughter gets the best possible education is my highest priority.
And so it is for these villagers in Bettiah in Bihar.
They know that education can give their kids a better life.
Since the upper castes will not let their kids study at the village school, they have donated their own land to start this makeshift government school.
WOMAN: WOMAN 2: MAN: JOHAR and MAN 2: MAN 4: JOHAR and MAN 4: GONSALVES: I believe in the goodness of ordinary people.
Not dominant caste, you know, and dominant class and all that-- they are beyond repair.
But I believe in the goodness of ordinary people.
And I believe that they will lead India to a necessarily violent change.
Hopefully, with a good effect at the end.
It won't come because of, you know, applications to the government or folded hand requests, and so on.
It'll come through, through violent revolution.
India will see that, I have no doubt about that.
(laughs) JOHAR: It has been an overwhelmingly emotional journey for me.
I have discovered an India I hardly knew existed.
Tiny children breaking stones, making bricks, and digging for minerals, and young teenage girls taken as slaves for domestic labor, and worse, for sex.
This is not the India that our founding fathers dreamt about.
It's a scandal that such a huge portion of India's children still earn to support their family rather than the other way round.
As I get back home to spend time with my little daughter, I wonder if most of us leading comfortable lives in the city really care what's happening in the other India.
After all, it's us, the educated middle class in India, and those who consume its products abroad, who allow child slavery to persist and thrive in our midst.
But it is a stain on our civilization, and in this, the 21st century, it is time it is stopped.
♪ ♪ ♪ (laughing) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪