In Danny Boyle's extraordinary film Slumdog Millionaire, young orphans are taken from the streets and forced to beg. The captors discover one boy has a beautiful voice and so they blind him to raise both the sympathy factor of potential alms givers, and the dollar amount of their charity. Although this is a fictional account, it is the daily reality for thousands of trafficked children. They are maimed and then forced onto the streets to beg. If they do not meet their daily quotas they do not eat and are sometimes not allowed into the place where they sleep. Just one more perversity of modern slavery.
In India, Ethiopia, even Egypt there are alarming new trends. Children who are maimed make the so called "begging mafia" 5 to ten times what a non-crippled child will. It is so prevalent in India that many humanitarian organizations counsel their members not to give crippled children money but instead offer them food, hoping it might discourage the future maiming of other children. In several recent documented cases in India, the children who were maimed had been approached by someone posing to be from a religious or humanitarian organization. The children were given food and promised a safe place to stay. And then they were taken somewhere and maimed. One boy was taken to a doctor who amputated his leg while another had his left arm amputated. The boy below is also addicted to glue that his handlers got him hooked on. This is a common tactic to keep the children submissive and pitiful looking, many of these kids end up addicted to any number of substances.
As with the many other types of Trafficking, homeless orphans are one of the highest risk groups. They have no one to protect them, no way to feed or clothe themselves. Add to this the cultural stigmatization of the impoverished in some countries, and it is painfully obvious why these innocent kids end up facing this type of inhuman torture.
One of the most profound ways individuals can fight this practice of maiming and the trafficking of orphans in general is to either adopt them or fund organizations that protect them. Please help these innocent victims by doing whatever you can in that respect. From all of us at COH, thank you for your compassion and dedication to justice.