Child Survivors of Nepal Earthquake 'Sold As Domestic Slaves to British Families'

Child Nepal
A young Nepalese girl holds a doll as she walks at a relief camp for survivors of the Nepal earthquakes in Kathmandu on July 17, 2015. Children as young as 10 are being bought for £5,250 by black market gangs. Prakash Mathema/Getty

Child survivors of the Nepal earthquake are being sold to British families to work as domestic slaves, according to an investigation.

Boys and girls as young as 10 are being bought for just £5,250 by black market gangs operating in the Punjab region of India, British newspaper The Sun has alleged.

Thousands of people died when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25 and left millions in need of aid.

The newspaper reported the gangs are preying on the children of Nepalese refugees and destitute Indian families. And it claimed wealthy British families were buying the youngsters to work as unpaid domestic servants.

The Sun alleged a trader, named Makkan Singh, lined up youngsters for an undercover reporter to pick them up. He said: "We have supplied lads who have gone on to the UK. Most of the ones who are taken to England are Nepalese.

"For the supply of a boy, minimum 500,000 rupees (around £5,250 or $7,469). Then you will have other costs associated with taking him to the UK, but that's your responsibility extra to what you pay us.

"Take a Nepalese to England. They are good people. They are good at doing all the housework and they're very good cooks. No-one is going to come after you."

The U.K.'s Home Secretary Theresa May said child trafficking is a "truly abhorrent crime" and urged the National Crime Agency to investigate the newspaper's findings.

She told The Sun: "No child, anywhere in the world, should be taken away from their home and forced to work in slavery.

"That is why we introduced the landmark Modern Slavery Act last year, which included enhanced protections for potential child victims of slavery and sentences up to life imprisonment for those found guilty."

The Modern Slavery Act came into being in October 2015 to crack down on modern day slavery and protect victims of trafficking.