“This is an Oscar kid!” said the father of Rubina Ali, one of the child stars from 2008′s megahit Slumdog Millionaire. It looks like he’ll be selling her to the highest bidder, according to the News Of The World. Rafiq Ali states that he is merely “securing (his) child’s future”, and that this would ensure a brighter financial situation for the entire family to boot. Rubina played the young Latika in the indie sleeper hit turned Best Picture winner at the 2008 Oscars. Director Danny Boyle (of Trainspotting fame) picked Rubina out of about 1,600 children from in and around Mumbai that auditioned for the part. The story brings a special perspective on the child trafficking that goes on in general, not just in Mumbai. Children are bought and sold at an alarming rate – with estimates too high to tally in less affluent areas of India. Child trafficking worldwide has reached an alarming number, with over 246 million children forced into cheap labor, and a further 2 million alleged to be employed in the child sex industry. It’s not entirely uncommon for a father to sell their daughter in the slums but given such a high profile child, you would think that the father would know better. Shockingly, The News Of The World reporter pretended to be an oil sheik – hence the huge price jump for his daughter. Inititally, Rafiq wanted $50,000 for his daughter but the price went up to a staggering $200,000. From the NOTW report:
Almost embarrassed to speak it out loud, he whispered to an accomplice the price tag he has put on his innocent young daughter: “It’s £200,000!” That was an astonishing FOURFOLD increase on his opening demand. But Rafiq’s equally demanding brother Mohiuddin insisted: “The child is special now. This is NOT an ordinary child. This is an Oscar child!” “Rubina’s family are furious that despite the film doing so well and their pretty daughter becoming so famous, they are still living in such rough conditions. “They were approached by one wealthy Middle Eastern family who saw their plight in an item on Al Jazeera TV. The couple expressed an interest in adopting young Rubina and her parents’ eyes lit up. “Dad Rafiq is streetwise and knows that soon his daughter’s success will be forgotten and her moment of fame will be over. He has a family to feed and simply can’t afford it. He is keen to find a rich family to bring up Rubina but only if they are willing to help the whole family to get out of the slums.
For more info, click here for the News Of The World article. Manolith will bring you the updates when they become available.