India has a population of more than 1.3 billion people, there are still at least 270 million people living on less than US$1.90 per day. While laws, systems and attitudes regarding key 'fault lines' such as the caste system, gender and feudalism are rapidly changing, social change of this depth and scale necessarily takes time. In this context, it is perhaps unsurprising that existing research suggests that all forms of modern slavery continue to exist in India, including intergenerational bonded labour, forced child labour, commercial sexual exploitation, forced begging, forced recruitment into non-state armed groups and forced marriage.
Zakir travelled to his aunt’s house in Mumbai where he was told he would get an education. However upon arrival he was forced to work in the zari factory next door. Subjected to physical and verbal abuse daily, Zakir received no money for his work. Eventually Zakir was rescued by an anti-trafficking organisation and went back to school.
I used to feel sorry for myself… “Why did I come to Mumbai?” If I hadn’t come then this would have never happened to me, I would have never been sold.
We were extremely poor. There was no one to earn money in my family.
After my dad died, my aunt came to my house. And she told my mother “I will take him with me. In Mumbai I will educate him.” So my mother agreed. That’s why I came. To study. How was I to know that she was going to sell me?
My aunt said “Are you just going to study or do you plan to work as well? I’m going to make you work at the zari factory next door. You better work properly there.”
I think my aunt sold me because she wanted more money.
They used to hit me with the bed frame, and I had marks on my body from it – big black marks. They used to hit me on my back, on my arms and on my legs. They used to say, “C**t, mother f*****r, F**K you! Keep quiet or we will beat you.”
“You pimp! You want money? What money? You pimp. A**hole.” She would abuse me and hit me and say go back to work. She would tell my boss, “Don’t let him out. Make him work.”
I want every child to study. Studying is very important. If you study you will succeed.
As told to documentary makers at MTV Exit.