“India’s Forgotten Children” was premiered at London’s Leicester Square Vue Cinema in November 2013. It is available in the full one hour version on DVD. There is also a new special edition director’s cut of thirty minutes, entitled “The Other India – India’s Forgotten Children” which is available for free view on this website.
India’s caste system has its roots in ancient history. Yet its impact today on India’s Untouchables
(as they were formerly known) exerts an unbreakable grip of exploitation, poverty, and sheer misery. The film portrays the threefold burden of trafficking faced by Dalit children. Being sold into bonded labour; the so-called harvesting of human organs for transplants, a ruthless surgical theft, often with devastating consequences; and the sex trade, where millions of young girls, and increasingly boys, are dragged against their will into a life of the worst kind of sexual exploitation and despair. To be trafficked as a child is not only devastating, like a flood the damage inevitably tears into adult life. This is vividly portrayed as a climax in the film by a devastating in-depth interview with an Indian prostitute, who was trafficked from the age of nine years. It’s no surprise, as the film reveals, that in India, in despair eight children under fourteen commit suicide every day.
Meticulously researched, this documentary portrays the everyday lives of these forgotten children of India, whose painful predicament rarely reaches the headlines. It shows how their own government appears to turn a blind eye to the extent of their suffering and how in the West these children and their plight are largely unacknowledged. But in their villages and towns when traffickers are at work these children can simply disappear, into a latter day slave trade about which the International Community remains largely silent.
Filmed in village communities around the centres of Bengaluru, Lucknow and Hyderabad, and with the help of Dalit children interviewed and filmed in their daily rural life situations, the charting of these disturbing stories is poignantly portrayed. With expert analysis from Indian commentators and human rights advocates, the film nonetheless reveals a small but steady light of hope. Though the Dalits
have not been educated for centuries, their longed for provision of English-medium education is beginning to emerge. It is a small but significant step, and as the portrayal of this transformation implies - there may well be hope for their future.
Contributors and highlights include:
- Karnataka Human Rights Commission.
- Director at Global Concerns, India, and women’s and children’s advocate
– International President, Dalit Freedom Network
– Karnataka State Programme Director, and children’s and women’s activist
– Director, Tarika Women’s Training Centre
– 13 year old runaway, subject of serial abuse, and life threats
– 16 year old runaway, a survivor of an attempted railway track suicide, presently threatened with violence and death threats