Silver 2017 Editorial / Photo Essay

The slaves of tea

  • Prize
    Silver in Editorial/Photo Essay
  • Photographer
    GIULIO PALETTA

Child trafficking is a pressing issue in the tea estates of Assam, in Northern India, near the border with Bhutan, where the worldwide famous Assam tea is produced. Tea gardens are the perfect places for human traffickers to entice young girls and boys with the promise of a better future, to escape from a life of poverty. The number of incidences involving child trafficking are growing every day as are the number of tea estate families whose children have gone missing. The tea state of Assam has become the leading areas for the incidence of child abuse and trafficking in India; According to the latest data of the State Crime Records Bureau, more than 1,071 female and 494 male children have gone missing in Assam in 2011-2012, the highest rate in the Northeast, which has now emerged as one of the biggest source area, transit route and destination for trafficking of children for forced labour. The lack of access to quality education from a young age and extreme poverty are the most important factors that in large numbers of children dropping out in their first year of schooling; an urgent and often untold issue, in the world’s prime region of tea production