Dhaka, Bangladesh (CNN) - Deep scars crisscross the frail body of a seven-year-old boy at the center of a criminal case that investigators say exposes “pure evil.”
His father pulled the boy’s pants down, wanting to show the injuries that fill him with rage and anguish. His son’s penis had nearly been cut off.
“They beat me. They said they would make me beg. They would kill me,” the boy said. “I threatened to tell my father and police on them. They cut my throat, they cut my belly, they cut my penis.”
They also bashed his skull with a brick.
Investigators say members of a criminal gang were trying to force the boy to become a beggar on the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital.
Uttar Pradesh, India - Ten police officers barreled down the road, some on motorcycles, others in a jeep, their sirens left silent so as not to alert anyone. Their mission: to rescue workers from bonded labor, or debt slavery, in India.
But when they arrived at the carpet factory, it was empty except for a man inside.
It appeared that the police were too late.
As the man was questioned, officers outside discovered five children and a disabled adult who had been ushered out the back of the factory. Someone had tipped off the owner, police said.
The police took the group to the sub-divisional magistrate office, where the children reluctantly told their stories.
"We start work at 6 a.m., end at 9 p.m. at night," the smallest said. In return for 15 hours of work, they received a food allowance of just two dollars per week. “My father is dead. So I am working.”
Uttar Pradesh, India - An army of workers, their faces encrusted with dust, toils beside a story-high pile of unfired bricks. They are helping build a new India that appears to be leaving them behind.
From sunup to sundown they spend their time pouring wet mud into molds, lugging them to the kiln, firing them and then pulling them out. For their backbreaking work, they do not receive wages.
They are working to pay off a debt.
In India they are known as bonded laborers, bound to those who gave them or their forefathers an advance or a loan. Human rights advocates call them modern day slaves.
"I cannot leave here unless I pay my debt," said Durgawati, a mother of three.
CNN is joining the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on the horrors of modern-day slavery, amplifying the voices of the victims, highlighting success stories and helping unravel the complicated tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life. WHY WE'RE DOING THIS | MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT