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Human Rights

Millicent Trigar

Orator of the Year


Human beings are not property. Let us double our efforts so that the words of

the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — ‘no one shall be held in

slavery or servitude’ — ring true.’

Kofi Annan

India, located in theMiddleEast ofAsia, has the largest concentration

of slavery in all its forms. And while it is estimated that around 30

million humans are in slavery world-wide, a near 15 million of those

are currently serving in India. That’s half of the world’s slaves.

Trafficked into brothels, manual labour and debt bondage, Indian

slaves live an appalling life. And if the idea of being forced into

slavery isn’t harsh enough, some are born into it. Slavery is the only

life they know. I’m not talking about the casual house chores like the

crummy ‘

unpacking of the dishwashe

r’, that mum makes you to do every

night. I mean full blown 12-24 hour hard labour with little to no pay.

The dishes don’t sound so unappealing now.

Not only do those in slavery suffer excruciating hours, but many

undergo verbal abuse such as threats and insults, poor living

conditions, lack of food and even physical and sexual abuse. To some

extent, it is difficult to explain the life of a slave without actually

experiencing it. But as I tell the story of 13 year old Rambho from

Ashram, India, I will attempt to help you understand the life of an

Indian slave.

Rambho’s single mother, who was barely making it by money-

wise, was seduced into an offer with a loom owner, who promised

that her son would have schooling, a home and money to send back

home if he came to work in his factory. Upon his arrival, Rambho

was taught how to work the machines, and was already weaving rugs

from that very day. With even younger slaves beside him, Rambho

slept on makeshift, uncomfortable beds. He awoke at 4am and

worked through till 11pm, fed only two small, unappealing meals.

The promises made by the loom owner were a hoax, as there was no

education provided for Rambho, and the money sent back home

was meagre. The work the young boy received was demanding and if

he complained, the loom owner would beat himwith a stick, or force

his fingers into boiling oil.

After a gruelling year, by chance, the police discovered the loom

and all its slavery, and Rambho was returned to his family. In an