Rahul was only ten years old when his family made the decision to sell him into slavery for Rs 1,500. He was one of nine children and his family were struggling to provide for them. This is not uncommon amongst the poorest families in India who make such tragic decisions to ensure survival.
Rahul was sold to a sheep herder who promised the family he would take care of him, however Rahul was subjected to traumatic intense labour for 19 hours a day as well as being starved, beaten and sexually assaulted.
One day, Rahul decided to run away to escape the horrors of slave labour. He found himself in one of the British Asian Trust shelters, where he was able to receive immediate counselling. As Rahul settled into the shelter, he took up studying and was encouraged to express himself. Rahul blossomed in this nurturing environment, taking part in creative activities such as dancing and painting.
Three months after he arrived at the shelter, another boy arrived with a similar story to Rahul’s. It was his younger brother Arjun, who had also been sold by the parents.
Rahul and Arjun are some of the lucky ones who have been able to escape their captors and find sanctuary at one of the British Asian Trusts shelters. Around 5.8 million children are still trapped in forced labour in India.