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A year after her now eight-year-old daughter disappeared, Raj Rani saw a rag-clad little girl begging outside a temple in Amritsar in India’s northern state of Punjab. “My neighbour pointed out that the girl resembled Priya. I stopped and stared at her. My heart was pounding as I recognised her,” said Mrs Rani, who had suffered from depression after she lost her daughter.Whether the reunion was destiny or coincidence, the reality is that such good fortune evades thousands of other Indian parents whose children have been abducted and forced into begging. Organised begging that involves the abduction of children – known as the begging mafia – is common in India, with the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Bihar, New Delhi and Orissa having the most severe problem. A report by India’s human rights commission said these stolen children are “working as cheap forced labour in illegal factories, establishments, homes, exploited as sex slaves or forced into the child porn industry, as camel jockeys in the Gulf countries, as child beggars in begging rackets, as victims of illegal adoptions or forced marriages, or perhaps, worse than any of these, as victims of organ trade and even grotesque cannibalism”. Read more at http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090118/FOREIGN/494805023/1135/OPINION

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