India (MNN) — On October 11, Day of the Girl participants address the issues girls face worldwide, including gender stereotypes, discrimination, and opportunities for growth. Last year, the UN General Assembly began the Day of the Girl movement to spread awareness about girls' rights. Some of our partners spoke to us about girls' rights in India.
Dave Stravers with Mission India said mothers are often pressured to "get rid of" newborn baby girls, either through infanticide or abortion. Because girls are not valued in India, said Bright Hope International's CH Dyer, people mistreat them.
They think, "What's the big deal? This is their lot in life…who cares?" Dyer explained. "For many of the young girls, nobody does care.
"But what's interesting is: God has placed His people in these communities where this is happening, and they're saying, 'We care'."
On June 1, 2012, the International Labor Organization released its second global estimate of forced labor. The study revealed that a 15-year-old girl in India could spend three years working in a factory under dangerous conditions, only to receive a total of $645 – $860 that would be used as a dowry to pay her future husband's family.
The ILO estimates that 55% of forced labor victims are women and girls, and only 2% of sex trafficking victims are not female. Dyer said Bright Hope works with its partners in northern India to take action against the sexual exploitation of girls. Their program takes a three-pronged approach: awareness, rescue, and rehabilitation.
Part of the rehabilitation process involves what Dyer describes as spiritual renewal.
The goal is "to see them accept Christ," stated Dyer, "and give them an opportunity to build a relationship with Christ who loves them, values them…who sees them as His children and cares for them deeply."
Dyer shared the story of a 22-year-old girl who was recently rescued from the sex trade through Bright Hope's anti-trafficking program. After her parents died, she was left to care for her two younger siblings and grandmother. She became a prostitute, thinking it would earn enough money to support her family. She soon discovered she was stuck on a dead-end road.
"She wanted out, but she didn't know how to get out," Dyer said. "She was trapped in this lair that was just engulfing her. She was afraid that she'd never get out."
A family member told the young lady about the safe house at one of Bright Hope's partnering churches. She entered into Bright Hope's program and successfully left the sex trade. This girl is now studying God's Word and found hope for a future in the love of Jesus Christ.
"Just to see the photographs of her smile: it's like looking at somebody who's been totally saved and redeemed," said Dyer. "Those kinds of photos and stories just warm your heart and say, 'Yeah, we can change a life.'
"Even if it's one life at a time, it's worth doing."
Click here to become a Hope Builder for Human Trafficking. Bright Hope needs a license from India's government in order to continue their anti-trafficking work. Pray that this would happen.
Pray also for Bright Hope workers involved in anti-trafficking efforts. Believers engage in heavy spiritual warfare when they try to end a trade rooted in sin.