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2017 (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 non-state armed groups and forced marriage. 


Sunita, 25, was sold to a travelling circus in India by her grandmother. 

My grandmother took me to the circus one day and left me. I never saw my family again. I was amazed by the circus, they were like gods. They beat us and shouted, but it became normal. We travelled all the time. One day we were rescued and taken to a refuge in Nepal. They tried to give us new families, new lives, but all I could think about was performing. So some of us from the refuge created Circus Kathmandu. The circus is so beautiful, I don’t ever want to leave.

A documentary about Circus Kathmandu, entitled Even When I Fall, will be released in 2018.

As told to the Guardian.