They’re Kids, Not Tourist Attractions


Okay, so it’s not the most in-focus, well-composed photo in the world but I took it at night while inside a van with darkened windows. The driver told me I could take pictures, but if any of the pimps on the street saw me, they’d break the window and abscond with my camera.

Hence the shakiness of the photo.

I shot it in Mumbai while on assignment to write a piece about forced prostitution of women in India. Their horror stories were bad enough, but on this particular night my contact wanted to shake me up even more. As we drove through Mumbai’s red-light district, he asked, “See those cages in the second-story window?”

“Cage,”I repeated, snapping a photo of the crisscrossed bars of metal. “What’s in them?”

“Little girls,” he said. “They’re smuggled in from Nepal and held for 30 days while they’re urinated on, tortured, and raped until they no longer have a will to rebel. Only then are they ready to be child prostitutes.

That moment and that photo changed my life.

Diana Scimone is director of The Born2Fly Project to stop child trafficking ( and blogs about the efforts to stop child trafficking (

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11 thoughts on “They’re Kids, Not Tourist Attractions

  1. Wow – this type of thing just scare the shit out of me. How can one human treat another so disgustingly. And I’m not just referring to the animals who lock these little girls up, but also the filth that make it profitable.

  2. Chills. It’s incomprehensible how someone can so devalue a human life. And to a child? Reprehensible.Cool Post! Very informative dude. I saw this site while browsing and think it may be relevant keep up the good work!

  3. It’s difficult to wrap our minds around this tragedy of child trafficking that is repeated in so many many places around the world. This is a very powerful image.

  4. It is so difficult to look at these images because there seems to be nothing we can do. It hurts to know that we are so helpless to help those who most need it no matter what efforts we make it will never go away. The United States is so wrapped up in hybrid cars, Iraq, and the latest iPad and yet we ignore this. We go to war over silly things claiming it is about Human Rights and yet children are sitting in cage!
    God or whatever save us.

  5. I just froze while reading this, panicked for anyone as vulnerable as my six year-old niece…who’s actually safe at home in Maryland.

    Thank you for the link to Born 2 Fly, which I’ll now visit to offer my help to little girls who are neither home, nor safe.

  6. Diana, saddened and moved to tears! The depravity of man is so evil! Our children mean nothing to these people!! This is a powerful image. Bless you for your efforts to stop this.

  7. Thank you all for your comments — and anger — about this photo. I’m glad you are as passionate about it as I am.

    Numb, there IS a lot we can do. Most kids get taken because they buy the lies of the traffickers (or their parents do). They really think they’ll be models in the big city, or waitresses, or educated at far-away schools.

    What if we could reach kids before the traffickers do? What if we could warn parents about the lies traffickers tell–and show them what to do?

    That’s the goal of Born to Fly International, the non-profit I founded as a result of that trip to Mumbai (and others like it). We’re about to launch The B2F Project, which has the potential to dramatically reduce the number of kids being trafficked each year — simply through awareness education.

    You can read more at and on my blog

    Thank you all again for your interest and passion.

    Diana Scimone
    The B2F Project to stop child trafficking

  8. Diana, Thanks for sharing the picture. It is truly moving beyond words. As many times as I’ve cried my way through that story, seeing it makes it all the more powerful. My heart is broken to know what goes on in the lives of these children, but i doubt i could even imagine if i tried. My heart goes with you and the children you are fighting to save. Love to you! <3 Lauren

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