In a country where well over half the population lives on less than two dollars a day, it takes a lot to shock people. The sight of desperate families traveling in search of money and food, whole communities defecating in the open, old women performing back-breaking labour, all this is simply part of life in India, home to 1.2 billion people.
On a street corner in downtown Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital city, 12-year-old Kaita sits with a friend on a peeling steel railing watching the headlights of motorbikes cruising through the otherwise silent streets. It is after midnight, and motionless human forms lie curled up in doorways or stretched out on pavements nearby. For Kaita, these streets are home, and have been for almost six years.
Twenty-two-year-old Dario (not his real name) came to Belgium from Brazil in 2005. Just a teenager at the time, he told IPS he “came to escape the economic, social and political conditions in Brazil and to learn another language”.
Patrick Martin, 14, and his brother Mayeso, 15, are safely home for the moment with their mother and other siblings in Kasonya village, Phalombe District in southern Malawi, after they and 12 other children were rescued from being trafficked to neighbouring Mozambique last month by their father.