Carpet Weavers. Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department, 2005.
Carpet weavers like this family are usually Dalits or "Untouchables," the lowest caste in South Asian society. In many instances, the children are helping a family member, or someone else in their village who has fallen into debt. An offer is made to place a loom in their hut so they can pay off their debt, but this only ensures their enslavement, sometimes for generations.
Young girls sell flowers in Mumbai traffic. Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department, 2005.
Street kids, runaways, or children living in poverty can fall under the control of traffickers who force them into begging rings. Children are sometimes intentionally disfigured to attract more money from passersby. Victims of organized begging rings are often beaten or injured if they don't bring in enough money. They are also vulnerable to sexual abuse.
Weaving. Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department, 2005.
Children like this young girl are prized in the carpet industry for their small, fast fingers. Defenseless, they do what they're told, toiling in cramped, dark, airless village huts from sunrise until well into the night.
Making bricks. Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department, 2005.
A 9-year-old girl toils under the hot sun, making bricks from morning to night, seven days a week. She was trafficked with her entire family from Bihar, one of the poorest and most underdeveloped states in India, and sold to the owner of a brick-making factory. With no means of escape, and unable to speak the local language, the family is isolated and lives in terrible conditions.
In the sweatshop. Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department, 2005.
This woman in her early 20s was trafficked into a blue jean sweatshop, where she and other young women were locked in and made to work 20 hours a day, sleeping on the floor, with little to eat and no pay. She managed to escape and was brought to the government-run Baan Kredtrakarn shelter in Bangkok. After a few days, when she felt safe enough to tell her story to the director, the police were informed and they raided the sweatshop, freeing 38 girls, ages 14-26.
At the shelter in Bangkok. Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department, 2005.
Victims of trafficking and other forms of abuse find protection and support at Baan Kredtrakarn, a government shelter in Bangkok which can care for up to 500 women and girls. While at the shelter, they are counseled, prepared for testifying in court, and given vocational training in hair-dressing and traditional Thai crafts such as basket-weaving, flower-making, spinning, and weaving. The shelter's goal is to help reintegrate them into society so that they can lead productive lives.
Gypsy girl. Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department, 2005.
A Roma (gypsy) child finds herself on the side of a road in northern Italy, ironically wearing a shirt that proclaims, "Outsider." Her family, which fled the ethnic turmoil in Bosnia, is always on the move. Poverty, discrimination, and social customs combine to make Roma children vulnerable to trafficking.