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Children toiled from dawn to dusk
Mon, Sep 15, 2008
NST
>WHILE most teenagers attend school and play with friends, life for "slave children" is miserable.

All that Letchumy's children did, from dawn to dusk, was toil in the fields. From the age of 4, they were forced to work in estates and did not know what school was.

Letchumy says some of the estate children are just skin and bones.

One of her sons, Kumar, 14, says he has become immune to pain as he has been beaten so many times.

Though illiterate, he harbours hopes of getting vocational training and leading a normal life.

"All I have known is hardship, pain and torture. I pray that this will come to an end soon and we will be able to live like normal children.

"I have been forced on numerous occasions to consume cheap alcohol which tastes like kerosene and I am worried about the harm this has done to me."

With tears, he says he only has his parents and siblings to cling on to.

"All of us in the estate have thought of suicide as it would be much less painful to die than go through what we were facing.

"We had no proper food, beds or anything. Even animals have better lives."

Kumar says he worked more than 12 hours a day in the fields and would be whipped if his employers found him taking a rest.

"At times, we were only given one meal of watered down rice. When we complained of hunger, they would give us cheap alcohol which burned our throats."

 

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