Shopping Bag

Peter Smith in India


The following is a letter from WTBA representative for England, Pete Smith. Peter is an acupuncturist, osteopath and Internal Martial/Healing Arts teacher from Folkestone in the UK. he has been travelling to Indian for some time now, paying his own fare and accommodation and losing out of his own business (Pete didn't want me to write this but it has to be said), back home to go and do voluntary work with Indian children who have been abused, sold into prostitution, had joints and bones broken on purpose so that they can join the "begging business" or have been tortured in order that they will perform sexual acts for money for their parents! And all this from what was once a "spiritual" country, a country that many westerners would go to in order to renew their faith and gain some ancient wisdom and spirituality.

Pete found that by simply teaching them some movement skills such as simple Tai Chi and even playing simple games with them, they gained a little self respect and dignity. You have to have a strong stomach and heart to read the following letter from Pete but this information should be read by everyone in the West. In other words, if you think you have it bad, read on!

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My name is Peter Smith and I am a registered Osteopath and Acupuncturist. (World Taiji Boxing Association Representative for the UK)

I have recently returned from a 6 week trip to India working in homes for boys and girls rescued from enforced prostitution. The girls' home is purpose built and the boys live in dirt floor huts. As soon as enough money is raised, a home will also be built for the boys.

The facts are not pleasant but must be told.

These children were either sold by their parents or kidnapped by pimps who coach and force them into prostitution. The method used to encourage the poor lids who resist are regular beatings, rubbing chilli into the eyes and burning with cigarettes. I have seen the results of this barbaric behaviour. There is also gradual brain washing to convince them that what they are doing is honourable and correct. It sickens me to write this but boys and girls as young as 3 years are taught to masturbate men. After a time, kids accept this as normal behaviour.

The corruption runs deep from the parents to the pimps and to the corrupt police and politicians. The parents, because of their impoverished state, sell their children to the pimps who bribe police officers to turn a blind eye, who in turn, I am told, supply children to corrupt depraved politicians. Some police even pay politicians to get posts in areas where there are lots of brothels and lots of bribe money from the pimps. The trustworthy police have a tough time and are often threatened and driven out. Whilst I was there, the police arrived at the Home at midnight and tool 20 children away. They placed them in a Government run home in appalling conditions and were immediately put have to work on the streets!

The Home was started 16 years ago by two courageous and compassionate men. They have been beaten, stabbed and have received death threats from the police and pimps because rescuing the children reduces their income. This also embarrasses the police as the Home is seen to be doing what the police should be doing -- rescuing the children. The first two years at the Home are spent in rehabilitation and recovery in an atmosphere of love, compassion, understanding and kindness. In the words of one of the founders, "the most important this is that they are happy and smile".

After the recovery period, they attend school or college daily. Many of the children I met are now educated, mainly happy young adults, although the terrible emotional and physical trauma they have suffered is occasionally obvious in their eyes. It's at these times that you just want to give them a comforting cuddle, but this is not wise! It could be misinterpreted or seen as favouritism by the other children which is understandable in their emotionally fragile condition.  I found this very difficult but we had to take extra care as the police spread rumours that as wer are not getting paid, we must be abusing the children!

There were two of us working in the Homes; myself and a brilliant and funny practitioner and friend, Sean Cleere. We started the first day treating the carers and just a few of the older girls. We were met with various presentations but always considered emotional factors. As the word spread that it didn't hurt, too much (acupuncture) and it was helping, the clinics  grew.

Treatment was informal with everyone being treated together in a gym. There was lots of joking and laughing but eventually they would all fall asleep with very noisy snoring. I also taught Tai Chi three mornings a week at the girls' home and two afternoons at the boys' home. At the 2nd class in the girls' home, they all looked a little serious and I don't know where it came from but I found myself teaching them the Hokey Cokey and they loved it.

Standing in from of these boys and girls, I was sometimes overwhelmed by their suffering. We were told many shocking heart rending stories. One girl was sold by her parents to a Doctor and his wife at the age of eight. In an accident, she fell from a balcony fracturing both of her hips. The Doctor for some reason was in fear of the legal consequences to he just dumped her on the streets of a busy city. Unable to walk and in great pain, she could only crawl around and was soon taken in my a "begging cartel". She worked for three years as a beggar before being rescued by the Home. They raised the money for a hip operation which helped her to walk again. She is now a lovely young woman.

An 8 year old girl was covered in cigarette burns inflicted by her Mother to force her into sex sessions with clients.  And 18 year old boy, now working, had 10 operations following repeated anal sex while much younger. An 18 year old girl with HIV was hospitalised while I was there. I visited her and was shocked by the lack of hygiene, chaos and dilapidation.

This barbaric inhumane sex trade exists and persists. We must do everything we can to continue to support and protect these children.

A big thanks to all those who sponsored me and to Sean for coordination the trip and his delicate liaising with the home over many months. It was a privilege to try to help these people and I can't wait to go back.