While some street children are orphans the majority have been driven from their homes by abuse, family breakdown and extreme poverty. Others are the by-product of the sex industry, turned out onto the streets while their mothers work, and yet more have been trafficked from other parts of India to be forced into labour and prostitution.
Some children enjoy the freedom life on the streets can offer and may even earn reasonable money scouring arriving trains, sorting rubbish or becoming expert petty thieves, but they remain vulnerable to victimisation, exploitation and abuse, and are exposed to extremely unhygienic conditions. To cope with all this many resort to glue sniffing and drug taking, both growing problems in Kolkata and ones which can seriously damage a child’s brain and reduce life expectancy. Future Hope has developed a good understanding with the Kolkata police and works closely with them to reach out to as many children as possible.