Jehanabad / Gaya:
Her 12-year-old grandson was rescued from a bangle-making factory in Hyderabad last Sunday. But at her village in Jehanabad, Shiv Ratni Devi says she's heard of his rescue only from us. Her first thought, where will the Rs.1000 per month the boy sends home every month, come from now.
In the last week, as many as 300 children have been rescued from bangle-making factories in Hyderabad. And almost all of them are from Bihar's Gaya District and it's surrounding areas. Back home, the boys' villages are almost a mirror image of each other, places where Bihar's poorest, often from the state's marginalised Mahadalit community, live in the absence of even the most basic facilities, like schools, concrete homes and hospitals.
Bigan Das, a relative of the family says, "We sent him to Hyderabad because we wanted him to learn some skill, any skill for survival. You tell me, what is the future here? There is no future."
At his village, Mastpurs, in Gaya, Karo Manjhi has a simple explanation of why he sent his eight-year-old child to a bangle-making unit in Hyderabad, and why he may send more of his children there. Manjhi is a landless person from the Mahadalit community, mostly working on other farmer's fields for a living. He says he has eight sons and a daughter, and does not even earn enough to feed himself, let alone his huge family. "The person who took my child, he promised 12000 rupees for six children. But he paid only 10000. We divided that among ourselves," says Mr Manjhi.
Bihar's child trafficking numbers stand at an alarming 4000 children per month, accoridng to police sources, who say they are trying their best to curb the practice. But in village after village, it is not difficult to understand just why it's not easy.