Today we are on our way to the city to film what we can of a raid and rescue mission of fifty children enslaved and hidden in a bangle factory.
We are bearing down on Jaipur, which is how highway driving feels entering Indian cities. We pass an elephant on the highway in, left lane. Our driver has been expertly swerving at high speed between trucks with inches to spare so passing a walkingelephant is old news. But by the time we get inside the pink city walls, the camel carts are battling it out between motor scooters, auto rickshaws, trucks and cars – the turtles of Jaipur traffic. A parade of unsupervised black cows rounds the traffic circle surrounded by car horns and wall to wall vehicles to amble through one of the pink city gates on their way to anywhere next. Their trust in safety is complete.
Yesterday evening a Brahma bull, a huge guy with testicles swaying nearly a foot long between his legs, approached our 18-year- old Sophia on a country road. She stopped and he dipped his head to rest on her belly, sweetly. His was a sacred trust.
What will it take to win the trust of fifty children enslaved in a factory where tomorrow the raid and rescue will take place. Fifty children work on the 5th floor stuffing shiny specks into bangle bracelets in the 100 degree heat of a crowded city neighborhood. These are kids of all ages who have not run or played or seen the sun for months or for some, years. Will they ever be able to lean their tortured heads into the belly of Bal Ashram with the peace of mind of that sacred cow on a country road or maneuver through life with the trust of those black cows at a traffic circle?
Today at the police station the team learns that the factory owner was tipped off (by someone at the police station) and the kids were removed by rooftop – a foiled raid.
Not the first and surely will not be the last. But how many of these tricked and tortured kids will return the treatment as adults, terrorizing future generations of the world?