India (MNN) — 500,000 minor girls are working as prostitutes across
The problem is especially significant in West Bengal. In just one year,
2,500 teenage girls were trafficked from the region. Some girls were kidnapped,
others coerced into a life of sexual slavery.
Women with children sometimes choose to enter the realm of
brothels and slavery as a means of survival. According to the EFCA ReachGlobal Web site, the average daily wages for rural women laborers in India is 34 to 43
upees (76 to 96 cents) a day, but prostitutes routinely make 100 to 300
rupees ($2.25 to $7.75) per customer and average three or four customers per
Whether young girls are kidnapped into the trade, or women
enter the life to feed their children, much of the prostitution in India is
preventable. Fighting it is vital.
"We have to do something to address the flow of women out of
West Bengal, not just rescuing them one by one afterwards," says ReachGlobal
staff member Sandy, who has worked in India for 15 years.
That's why Mukti, the ReachGlobal Justice Initiative program, opened its first sewing and embroidery training program in the province of West
Bengal in April. Mukti gives the five women enrolled in the six-month program
hope for supporting themselves with a traditional skill that is still valued in
rural areas of India.
The program has been transformational over the last few
months in the lives of these five women who no longer have to worry about selling
their bodies just to eat. Not only have the women gained skills that they hope
to turn into businesses, but they have met a Savior to heal them from the
painful lives many of them were living.
"My husband did not take care of me," one woman
told ReachGlobal. "He tortured me physically and mentally. Many times I
wanted to do suicide. Nobody was there with whom I could share my pain. But
when I came here, I got a new life.
"Before, I did not know about Jesus," she says.
"I worshipped so many gods, but no one gave the response to my prayer. But
after coming here, I am feeling good in my mind. I am getting peace. Jesus has
given me so many answers to my prayers. I feel Jesus' love in my heart."
The woman adds that her husband has noticed the changes in
her, and he is starting to change. "I want my son and my husband also
to come to Jesus," she says.
The merits of the program are widespread, but to keep the
program solvent, Mukti's organizers are looking for sponsors to pay for the
women's training – $60 a month for six months.
Monthly support covers transportation costs for trainees and
volunteers, materials used in training, graduation expenses, snacks, and the cost of stove fuel used
to make tea. The sponsorship would help get more women
into a program that aims to prevent as many as possible from getting dragged