Presenter of BBC Two documentary Slave Children
Eventually, Ali revealed that he slept under a bridge or in "any house" he could find. He avoided using shoes, to boost his chances of getting money. While the details of Ali's story are sketchy, we know that Ali was smuggled across the porous border between the Yemen and Saudi Arabia. In 2005, the Yemeni Ministry of Social Affairs acknowledged that about 300 children were crossing the border every month.
It is not always possible to know the entire truth about these children but what is clear, is that they are working for others, out of education, and kept in a cycle of poverty and danger.
Ali told officials at the shelter: "I was smuggled in, in order to beg. I told him (the gangmaster) I don't want to beg, so he beat me up." The boy said he ended up begging because of physical abuse involving metal wire attacks to his back. He also said he was forced to beg all day, but claimed that he only gave some of his earnings back to his paymaster.