Irish people have been "buying" young Indian children in an effort to save them from brothels.
The Irish Independent reports that young girls and babies, some as young as nine months old, are kept in cages and auctioned off for sex to the highest bidder in Mumbai's infamous red-light district Kamathipura.
Marc Carey, 30, is working to release children from cages in which they are imprisoned for years in "dark, cruel and inhumane" conditions while pimped for sex.
He addressed the British House of Commons last week and has been working with the Jubilee Campaign and the Bombay Teen Challenge to rescue the children and set up safe houses for them.
Several wealthy Irish people have spent large amounts of money to help the children. One business donated €20,000 ($27,000).
"Babies only a few months old, right up to young girls aged 11 and older, are kept in tiny dark cages for years on end. The cages are locked from the outside and manned by armed gangsters," Carey told the Sunday Independent.
"You have to go down manholes and secret trap doors to get to them. Their spirit is broken and they are sold for sex for as little as €5 ($7). Virgins are auctioned off to the highest bidder.
"They are taken from families at such a young age that they can't even talk, they have no education, and they don't know the meaning of the word 'escape.' When they are older they are let out to work because the pimps know they have no means of existing on their own.
"They have children who are reared in the brothels too. The mothers are raped while the children lie beside them on the floor, or hide under the bed. Suicide and HIV is a big problem there."
The Dubliner says he became aware of the issue through his job as European marketing director for the Hard Rock Cafe.
"I was tasked with picking a charity for us to support but when I came across these underground brothels, I couldn't get my mind off it.
"I'll be returning to Mumbai in February to do more work and stay for a longer period of time helping to set up houses and schools for victims and, hopefully, I will have more funds with me this time.
"To see the difference in the children once they have been rescued is incredible. But at the same time you know what they have been through, the things they have seen. A friend put together a project called 'Frame the Future' recently where she asked the children what they would like to be when they are older and then dressed them accordingly for the photograph. She had doctors, pilots, business people. Despite where they have come from, their hopes for the future are bright.
"Gandhi famously said, 'You must become the change you wish to see in the world'. How many of us are passionate or courageous enough to really follow this through? The scale of human trafficking and sex slavery that takes place in India is so daunting that it is tempting to ignore the issue."
He urged the public to become "digital activists" to combat human trafficking.
"It's easy to look away, but don't let something as trivial as geography in today's world be an obstacle for you. The use of the internet now means we can all be digital activists. Whether it is simply sending a tweet, signing an online petition or buying the ebook set up to support our new campaign, it all helps."
Photojournalist Hazel Thompson has created the ebook 'Taken" about the issue. For more information or to make a donation go to www.takenebook.com
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