Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 4:30 p.m. EST
When a 7-year-old Bangladeshi boy refused to beg in the streets for a ruling gang, he was nearly beaten to death -- surviving a fractured skull, slit throat and sliced abdomen, CNN reports. They also amputated his penis, according to the news outlet.
"They tied me up and told me they'd force me to beg," he told CNN.com. "I told them, 'I know each and every one of you. And I'm going to tell my father.'” The boy’s threat provoked the beating, where the attackers left him for dead.
The boy’s tragic story sheds light onto a larger problem of forced begging and human trafficking in the poverty-stricken country. In Bangladesh, where 31.5 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line, begging is rampant -- even though it is technically illegal. This is especially true in the country’s two major cities Dhaka and Chittagong, the BBC reports.
Children are tortured -- they are maimed, spend months in confined spaces and are starved, the Guardian reports. Once they have become weak and disabled, they are put on the streets and earn around 500 to 1,000 taka ($6-$12) a day -- most of which are given to gang leaders that run the begging rings, according to the news outlet.
The boy, nicknamed Okkhoy (which means unbreakable in Bengali), now 8-years-old, plans on seeking justice at all costs.
After recovering from his injuries in both Bangladesh and the United States, Okkhoy and his family now live in a battalion compound waiting until he testifies against his attackers in an upcoming trial, according to CNN.com.
To learn more about Okkhoy’s story watch CNN’s three-part documentary Operation Hope here.
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