Hope transforms the brothels of India

By July 20, 2012

(MNN) — India is a sending, receiving, and transit nation for the sex
trade. The reality for the children of
the brothels is that they're likely to be sold as a sex slaves. 

Kaytie Fiedler, field
representative for India Partners, says the statistics are sobering. "There are over 250,000 commercial sex
workers just in Mumbai alone. It's believed that over a third of that number
are children under the age of 12." They're the definition of "at-risk" children. "90% of the children that are born
and are living in the brothels will also become commercial sex workers as they
get older."  

India Partners discovered that one way
to help was to reach the kids first. A safe home called Anandalay was therefore established. Anandalay is a home for daughters of trafficked women
where they receive quality education, wholesome food, and excellent
accommodation under the committed care of a houseparent couple.

can come and have a great meal," says Fiedler. "They
will get love and attention. They'll get an education. More importantly, children are going to grow up knowing that there is an alternative for them and
they don't have to choose this lifestyle that [they're] so trapped in."

injecting hope, they could show these women and children that there is an
alternative to the brothels. They began providing safe houses for kids like 7-year-old Payal.  The ministry's partners set
up schools in the heart of the red light areas and began reaching out to
brothel moms, offering their children a haven six days a week outside the red
light areas.

through an interpreter, Payal* expresses both her relief at being rescued and
her concern for her mother, who still works in the brothel. "I feel safe over here. They love me,
they provide for me. They give me whatever I need. I know the place where my
mother stays. She's not safe there, and I wish that she would also be safe as I
am safe here."

Payal's reaction is common. "The child is now growing up in a
regular family, a loving environment, where that stress of being used in the
trade is being taken away."

What about mom? "She is the ultimate goal,"
explains Fiedler. "Because they are so full of mistrust, they hate
themselves, they hate what they do, and it's a longer process to reach her. That's
why working through the children can be such a motivation for them. When they
see what's happening with their child and the transformation that's happened,
they start to ask, 'What is there for me?'"

The ministry teams talk about alternatives,
safe houses and, most importantly, a future of hope. And moms are welcomed with open arms. They're told, "'We'd love to have you
come in and rest for a while, talk with our counselors, find some healing for
your mind and your body. Then, let us introduce you to a new trade…something
that you want to be doing!'"

Most need help getting out of the sex
trade. India Partners can help with
that, too. India Partners also provides literacy training as well as vocational
training. "We really look at an
individualized program, based on what the women themselves see themselves
doing and encourage them in those areas of their gifting."

The Gospel
plays an integral role in these rescues. As a result, lives are being restored in the Red Light Districts of
Mumbai. On more than one occasion,
former brothel workers are eager to share their new-found freedom in Christ with
others who are still in the trade. One former worker writes, "I want to let them know that the life that they
live and that I lived at one point has no value. Transformation can come if you
take a step of faith."

$3.62 a night removes a child from the
red-light districts and relocates him or her to a safe home. Children are given house parents, a
private tutor, enrolled in private school, and given a loving environment where
they can thrive.

Sponsors help, too. For $1 a day, a sponsor
insures that a child will be given food, shelter, medical care, clothing,
education and/or vocational training.

*This is Payal's story:

 Seven year old Payal's
mother was a victim of the sex trade and worked in Turbhe red light area in
Mumbai. Sahaara staff knew Payal's mother since 2008. Payal was a student in
the Sahaara balwadi as well. [Sahaara is a ministry which s
eeks to draw out the dream embedded in the hearts and lives of
the underprivileged and create avenues for the fulfillment of their
dreams. India Partners has been collaborating with Sahaara since 2007l]

Sahaara has worked with trafficked women and children in and around the red-light areas With counsel, Payal's mother decided to admit her
to Anandalay for a better and safer future. Anandalay (Home of Joy) is a
shelter home run by Sahaara for daughters of trafficked women. Anandalay
houses these children who are brought up by house-parents in a loving and
conducive family environment. Payal was welcomed into Anandalay on 1st April

Initially when she came in, Payal hailing from an environment of
violence and abuse in the red light and unfamiliar with a family environment
was very aggressive in her language and did not show respect to others. The
houseparents engaged with her, assured her with love, and instructed her in good
behaviour. Observing the other children and heeding the guidance, Payal began
to mature in her social skills. Payal is now respectful and loving in speech
and conduct with the other children in the home and her houseparents.

she is enrolled in Sr. K.G. in one of the top schools in the locality (St.
Xaviers' School, Airoli, a branch of Ryan Schools). Ryan Schools has strength
of students of nearly 200,000 children with a nationwide spread, guided by 8,000 d educators focusing on child-centered qualitative learning. The
syllabus covers English (alphabet recognition, reading, writing, and sentence
formation), numeracy, activities, extracurricular activities such as sports,
craft, and drawing.

Payal is academically strong and scores above 90% in her subjects.
She is confident in skills like writing and communication. She particularly
enjoys football and athletics. She was selected for the school hockey, football,
and the school march past team as well!

She feels
at home in Anandalay and loves to help the other children in catching up on
their studies. She is very sharing in nature and is proactive in helping the

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