In many Asian and African countries, parents allow their children to go with a family friend or relative to work in an hotel or as a domestic maid believing they will be looked after, fed, clothed, go to school and send money home.
In the Mchinji district of Malawi, the reality can be very different. Children as young as 10 are often trafficked to work long hours on farms, as house girls or to serve in local bars, often leading to prostitution.
The boys who work on farms tend large herds of cattle for 10 hours a day. They are fed one meal of maize porridge a day, they are not clothed properly and they don’t go to school. They usually don’t get paid. The girls often begin working in bars, serving and clearing up and are quickly introduced to commercial sex work.
These photographs were taken when I was managing a 3 year project to tackle child trafficking in Mchinji, Lilongwe and Dedza with The Salvation Army UK international development team.
The Malawi photographs represent a journey back into documentary photography after 14 years working as a fundraiser for UK-based NGOs. The technology has changed since I last took photography seriously but the basic principles of story telling remain the same.
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