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Manju A.

2016 (Narrative date)

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, Manju is forced to work in the fields all day, without any time off for sickness.

My name is Manju. I am very sick but I am still working. My stomach hurts, but I still have to do the harvesting. Even if you die or live, you still have to work. If I work the whole day, I can feed my children at night. Sometimes I get something to eat. Sometimes I don't get anything to eat. I have five kids. I have two sons and two daughters. One of my daughters died. My kids are hungry since the morning. They slept on an empty stomach last night and they are still hungry. We are dying under the sun. Right now, we have nothing.  

As told to Voices 4 Freedom