Big tops are big business in India, with thousands flocking to the country’s touring circuses, but behind the bright lights and broad smiles, lies a miserable story of child trafficking and abuse.
Filmmaker Sky Neal goes undercover with a charity trying to rescue children from unscrupulous circus owners.
She sees first-hand evidence of the estimated 2,000 children being exploited and abused in India’s mostly unregulated circuses. Many are trafficked from Nepal, after being sold by their impoverished families into a ‘better life’.
Carrying out rescue raids is difficult for staff at the Esther Benjamins Memorial Foundation, with owners going to great lengths to avoid being caught, but the horror stories from the rescued children in their care keep them going.
WATCH - Get inside the murky world behind India’s circus industry. Apologies, but this video is only available in Australia for copyright reasons - international viewers can see the report on Al Jazeera's website.
EXTRA - Follow the link under 'resources' on the right-hand side of the page to find out more about the work of the Esther Benjamins Memorial Foundation.
On air: 25th September 2011