"Tap, tap, tap" was the noise I heard on my window in the backseat of the vehicle I was riding in through the streets of Bangalore. We had stopped at the traffic light. I turned to see a young man with two faint white stripes on his forehead and pleading eyes. His hands were full of toy Rubix cubes, and he tried to get me to purchase one.
I could not do anything for a few moments but look him in the eyes. I think he knew I felt pity for him. He didn't break my gaze for some time. The traffic light turned green, and I was advised by my family to tell him "no." I gently shook my head at him, but I still felt badly for turning him away.
The following Monday, we spent the day at Oasis Bangalore. We watched a documentary on child beggary. Apparently there is a beggary mafia who purchases children from the trafficking mafia in Bangalore. Oasis, and several other NGO's and the police department and government agencies banded together to rescue children who are forced to beg on the streets. Their results astonished me. Children who were rescued in the raids ranged from ages infant to teenagers. Many had been kidnapped or sold into beggary, where they had "new parents." These parents forced the children to beg on busy streets and intersections. The money would go directly back to the parents. One five year old boy said "My father makes me beg." He was asked what does father do with the money you give him? "He buys drinks," was the child's response.
One beautiful nine year old girl who was rescued did not want to return to her "parents." The "parents" did not bring appropriate documentation proving their parenthood to the courts. By chance, one of the government officials recognized the man who claimed to be her father as a man who had been in court previously claiming some boys to be his sons. This little girl not only was rescued, but she provided information that led to the discovery and rescue of her "brothers and sisters" who were living under plastic sheets on the street.
How is it that people devalue life? They have torn these children from their families, and humiliated, hurt and beaten the innocent. This documentary tore my heart. I immediately thought of the young man selling Rubix cubes. I wish I could have found him, rather than leaving him behind. Perhaps one day I will find him. Please pray for this young man and his safety and rescue with Oasis and the team in Bangalore. Get involved in the rescue...
Because every child matters!
The photographs in this blog were shot by Ms. Nita Kulkarni and from her site at http://www.stockpicturesforeveryone.com/2011/11/child-beggars.html. She has some amazing information about the state of beggary in India.