In the village of Meghalaya there is not adequate food to feed most children or a husband who needs to eat a full meal to complete a 16 hour day of work for a job in the fields for only pennies. The grain has been emptied and the water run dry. A five year old is crying because he is so hungry that his stomach is paining from malnutrition and his lips dry and cracked from lack of fluids. His nails brittle with dirt caked underneath each one because there is not enough water to clean them. The oldest son has no education and is leaving with his father at the crack of dawn to work alongside him in the fields. An eight year old daughter is in the corner of the room threading straw into bedding for the next nights broken sleep. This is a typical day in one of India’s poorest villages. Every once in a while there is a moment where one thinks that someone or some God will come and save the children and family from this life of suffering and starvation.
Suddenly there is commotion in the streets, a mother is heard screaming with terror, gun shots fire and the villagers scatter into their half standing clay structures. Out of the corner of an entry way to the road, a cow is left standing. She is huge in size and her utters expanded like a filled water balloon ready to pop. The children spot her immediately and find strength to get to her side. The daughter smiles as she stares into one of the cows big brown eye. The five year old lifts his boney wrist and carefully glides his fingers on her suede feeling fur. A man appears from behind the heifer and
opens his hand, inside was a stack of silver and gold coins. His other hand carried a potato size sack of what seemed to be grain. He motions for the other two men who’s faces are covered in a black sheath to come closer to the boy as the mother is frozen with fear. She turned desperately to search for her husband who should be coming up the road with her oldest son, as the sun is almost setting. Her heart is pounding in her weak chest as she motioned her eight year old daughter back into the doorway of the hut. She back up slowly unsure of her mothers reaction. The three men walked closer to the entry and one is holding a large semi-automatic gun. She looks one more time for her husband who has finally reached the familiar part of the road home. He has spotted the men and started to run with all of his bushels of straw spilling out of his basket.
“Nahim…Nahim…” He shouts as he waves his hand in the air. The men ignored his pleas of objection. In a matter of mere seconds the men surrounded the wife and the young boy. He cowered down behind his mommy as she wrapped her arm around him and covered his face with her hands. She knew at that moment why they were there. All her hair raised on her arms as her head spun dizzy circles with rage and fear. Her husband and son were close to her side but they were no match for the men and their gun. The man with the coins walked up to her and grabbed the mothers right arm, she screamed and attempted to pull away but he forced it back as he flipped her palm up and pried her fingers open. She spat in his face but he ignored her protest and proceeded to drop the coins one by one into her impoverished hand. She began to weep uncontrollably but accepted the coins without any more fight. The husband now at her side stared at the silver and gold, his eyes welled with what little moisture could wet them. His wife stared intently into his eyes and shook her head slowly. Her weeping now turned to speechlessness as she searched for a sound that could match her utter despair. He looked at her and then despairingly over at his eight year old little girl. She was curled into a ball in her little dress holding a thatched doll with string that she had just made. The husband nodded yes to his wife and then hung his head. The mother let out a high pitched shout and collapsed to her knees. The man smiled his yellowed, crooked teeth through his long black beard. He let go of the mothers hand and motioned the men towards the little girl. The two sheathed men all in black swooped over to her rolled up body and grabbed her arm to lift her. She screamed as she tried to pull away but the men just put their large hands over her small quivering lips to cover her shrieks of terror. They pulled her off the ground and tucked her kicking and thrashing tiny body under one of their arms locking her in to his waist. The other man pulled a black cover from his pocket and slipped it over her head and shoved the remainder of the material into her mouth to stop her cries for help for her mommy and daddy. The thatched doll dropped to the dirt ground as the string broke open and the straw scattered. The man swiftly exited the entry of the hut. The five year old will now survive a few more weeks on the beef from the cow and the milk will nourish his brittle bones but the beedi-binding by his own parents is a trade he will never forget. Everyday as you read this article children as young as 4 or 5 years old are being traded, sold and taken to be sold as sex slaves, both boys and girls from all over the world. You can make a difference by going on this web-site and get involved. I will be writing more to this story in next weeks article so look for it next Monday.