Each day, children make several trips down the mountain, delivering stones from higher up in the Himalayas. They use makeshift harnesses out of ropes and sticks, strapping the stones to their heads and backs. Many of them come from families where everyone is trapped in debt bondage slavery. One of the mothers describes what it was like to be in slavery, “Neither can we die, nor can we survive.”
Entire families are in bonded labor slavery. Often, families get a loan for an emergency or to pay a broker a fee for getting hired on a new job. Slaveholders, the only people near with any money to lend, trick the borrowers into slavery through illegal, exorbitant interest rates that are impossible to repay. Children inherit the bogus debt from their parents. Generations of families have been enslaved for a loan of just $18.