England’s The Sun newspaper reported April 5 that gangs in India’s Punjab region are preying on poor Indian and on Nepali children who migrated to India following last year’s devastating earthquakes. Children as young as 10 are being sold as domestic slaves to rich families in the United Kingdom for as little as 500,000 rupees ($7,525) each. The article has led British Home Secretary Theresa May to call for a police investigation into the trafficking.
A Sun reporter recently masqueraded as a rich UK citizen visiting India, looking for a child worker to buy and take back to the UK. A local trader offered a choice of three boys to the reporter, saying, “India is flooded with boys. Nepal has been destroyed and all the Nepalese are here. We go to the poor parents, we talk to them, we do a deal.”
As reported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, South Asia is the fastest-growing and second-largest region for human trafficking in the world, after East Asia, according to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Over the past year, Nepali officers say they have rescued more than 160 Nepalis, mainly woman and children, from human trafficking after the earthquakes of April and May 2015. However, the number of people trafficked is estimated to be much higher, as more than 40,000 children lost their parents, were hurt or were put at risk after the earthquakes.