In India there are over 3 million parentless street children, and 90% of them are girls. Within Calcutta’s city limits, there are more than 100,000 parentless children who roam the streets, living anywhere they can: street corners, railway platforms, under bridges, inside sewage pipes–they are as resourceful as they are desperate. To survive, they take odd jobs, typically begging or picking through huge piles of garbage, looking for anything with value in the recycling market. As they wander the streets, many are drawn into a world of crime, and quite often are physically and sexuallly abused by the adults in Calcutta’s vast and dangerous netherworld.
More than likely these orphans will fall victim to human trafficking, and be sold into slavery, become part of a beggar racket or forced into prostitution. In a beggar racket they are usually drugged, forced to beg, sometimes maimed to increase their revenue, and beaten when they don’t produce enough for their handlers. The beggar mafia is an extremely powerful one in India. Its tentacles spread far and wide and include not only kidnappers,and traffickers but doctors and police as well. What was portrayed in the movie Slumdog Million is the unbelievable reality of thousands of kids.
Another sad reality for many girls on the streets of Calcutta today is to be sold or tricked into prostitution. Many girls are lured into prostitution on the false hope of work or marriage, without the proper education to see through this ruse. Child prostitution is rampant in this part of the world where younger girls are the highest in demand, and male clients will pay top price for them. Approximately half a million prostitutes in India are under the age of 16.
There are also a vast majority of girl who are simply born into prostitution and have grown up in brothels without any knowledge or hope that there is another way of life for them. Due to the lack of value of girls in Indian society there is very little encouragement for them to dream of a better life or hope to escape the trap of this position.
These girls need our help. We, in America, have the resources and the ability to change their lives for good. Join us as we join the RIce’s in giving these girls a future and the ability to dream.