GFA runaway returns

By May 16, 2011

India (MNN) — After two years in captivity, an 11-year-old slave has finally escaped.

Nadish Sabharwai, a student in a Gospel For Asia Bridge of Hope center in India, ran away from home when he was nine after his mother scolded him about his efforts on homework. Little did Nadish know that he would be conned by a seemingly sweet elderly man. The man befriended Nadish and took him back to his home village.

The nightmare unfolded as Nadish was forced into slavery in December 2007. He was made to clean up animal waste by day and to stay locked in a room with another boy at night. They were given little to eat and had to sleep with the animals.

The two boys amazingly broke free one February night in 2010 when the landlord brought another kidnapped boy into the room and forgot to lock the door. The boys took their chance and ran to a police station.

A year after Nadish's captivity, much has changed. His captor was sentenced to life in prison for his crimes. Nadish has been reunited with his mom and is attending a Bridge of Hope center again.

But Nadish is struggling mentally as a result of his lengthy captivity and ill treatment. Bridge of Hope staff prayed diligently for him while he was missing, and they continue to pray for him now. The Lord only knows how to heal and comfort Nadish after such a horrifying experience.

Sadly, Nadish's story is all too common for children in South Asia. The United Nations estimates that one million Asian children are traded every day. In India alone, 45,000 children are reported missing each year. One of them is another Bridge of Hope student named Prince. Thousands more like him simply go unreported.

A recent Gospel For Asia report addressed the circumstances behind so many missing children in South Asia. GFA reports that India has the largest population of poor and vulnerable children of any country, with 44 million children living on the streets as beggars. That's over two times as many children as the entire population of Australia. Their poverty makes them extremely vulnerable to be forced into manual labor, sex trafficking, and domestic labor.

In Sri Lanka, thousands of children were recruited to join rebel forces during a civil war. One of every three households in the nation's capital has a child younger than 14 working in their home. Children forced to work for the commercial fishing industry are kept in slave-like conditions on boats far from the public eye.

UNICEF estimates that 4,500 children are trafficked from Bangladesh to Pakistan each year. Thousands more are sent to India and the Middle East.

Millions of children live in captivity of one form or another worldwide, and the Lord knows each of them. Pray for the children to be rescued and to be comforted in the meantime by Christ. Pray for GFA's missing Prince to be found and to draw close to the Lord while lost. Pray also that the Lord would speak through the faithful GFA missionaries and workers who reach out specifically to the runaway children.

There are ways for you to get involved with combating slavery in South Asia. Bridge of Hope centers provide the support needed to significantly decrease the likelihood that a child will be kidnapped or trafficked. Sponsor one of these most vulnerable children through GFA today.

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