Like many children who fall into slavery, Mukhal’s story begins with tragedy. His father died three years ago, when he was 9, leaving his family in a precarious financial situation.
Human traffickers are always on the lookout for this kind of vulnerability. One reached out to Mukhal’s mother, cheating her with false promises that he’d be okay if she accepted a small payment and allowed the boy to perform light labor in a factory.
The trafficker took Mukhlal hundreds of miles from home, from the Varanasi area to the state of Gujarat, and put him to work in textile mill. He was horribly abused. Mukhal was forced to work 14-16 hours a day. He was beaten for the most innocent mistake. His wages: no cash, just two meals a day.
Fortunately, a team from our front-line partner organization MSEMVS began to raise awareness in Mukhal’s village that child slavery is illegal in India. His mother asked MSEMVS for help, and the team set a rescue mission in motion.
MSEMVS and villagers went to police, and a rescue team then traveled to Gujura to find and rescue Mukhalk. It took three days, but the team was able to liberate Mukhal and eight other youths. Criminal charges were filed against the trafficker.
Now Mukhlal is back home, studying in his village school. His mother has become an active member of the community vigilance committee, which acts a local watchdog to confront human trafficking.
“Today I am happy because I am in school, now I don’t have to do any work.” Mukhal says. “I wish only to study and play many games with friends.”