India has a population of more than 1.3 billion people, there are still at least 270 million people living on less than US$1.90 per day. While laws, systems and attitudes regarding key 'fault lines' such as the caste system, gender and feudalism are rapidly changing, social change of this depth and scale necessarily takes time. In this context, it is perhaps unsurprising that existing research suggests that all forms of modern slavery continue to exist in India, including intergenerational bonded labour, forced child labour, commercial sexual exploitation, forced begging, forced recruitment into nonstate armed groups and forced marriage. Interviewed by NGO Voices 4 Freedom, Lalli is forced to work in the fields all day to pay back a debt incurred when her children fell ill.
My name is Lalli Devi. I have three sons and one daughter. When our kids fell sick, we took out a loan 2,000 - 5,000 Rupees ($30 - $70 USD). Now we work for this person. My life has gone, doing this. All the women that are working here have many children. Even if you are sick, you have to toil and labor. We have kids to look after, we have kids to feed. Manju is very sick and she still has to work. We have to work, we don't have any other choice, because we have to survive. We are homeless, we are shelterless, we don't have a house.
As told to Voices 4 Freedom