India (MNN) – With the visit of India’s Prime Minister Modi, many were hoping to hear what the country is doing to combat human trafficking. While pertinent and important topics were discussed, it seems unlikely that India is making this issue a focus, as explained by CNN and others.
It’s no secret that India is center stage for international human trafficking. The US Department of State reported an estimated 20-65 million citizens in forced labor in 2013. Sex trafficking is one particularly prominent form of human trafficking with women and children as the primary targets.
India Partners is one group fighting back. They work in the red light districts of Mumbai.
Donna Glass of India Partners says, “We go in there with a team of very dedicated individuals who have a passion and compassion for helping these women and their children to find a different way to live their lives.”
Time and time again women are tricked or forced into sex slavery. It all starts with poverty.
“They are so poor that their families just to survive, they will literally sell their daughters into human trafficking because it’s one less mouth to feed and it provides them some income to help support those who are still left in the home,” Glass says.
Others respond to job postings from out of state only to find themselves being trafficked. They are intimidated out of running away or asking for help. Even state-to-state the language can be a barrier, Glass explains.
“They break their spirits through physical, mental, and emotional abuse. They’ll keep them hidden away until their spirits are completely broken and they feel like there’s no recourse.”
Once their sense of self-worth is gone, Glass says, they give in.
Reaching into the darkness
Working with other agencies in the area, India Partners has created drop-in centers within the red light district. Here, over time, they develop relationships with the women in bondage with the hope to gain their trust, renew their sense of self-worth, and give them a way out.
Along with that, these partners desire to share the love of Christ with them. “We do not go in and just take women out of the red light districts and find a safe home for them because they have not made a choice to leave,” Glass explains.
In cases where women are taken out before they start to understand their true value, the level of re-entry into sex slavery is high.
The message they want to send, Glass says, is this: “Jesus cares about you and he wants us to show his love to you and that is why we are here.”
Some of the agencies involved in the drop-in centers have homes for the women who want to leave. Here they can get an education and learn a trade so they can take care of themselves.
One woman who escaped and went through this agency is now a nurse. Glass says it’s about giving them dreams beyond the red light district.
India Partners, however, focuses on the children of these women. Even if the mothers aren’t convinced they should leave, they know they don’t want their children growing up in that environment.
Expansion in ministry
Earlier today, India Partners dedicated a flat to be a new girls home.
In the past, the 14 girls India Partners is working with had to live in rented facilities—an uncertain and dangerous situation.
Because of generous donors, India Partners was able to buy apartments in a brand new building. The builder, when hearing their plan, did not treat them poorly but instead rushed to get their rooms done first.
These girls and their host mom will be the first to move in so they can get settled. Glass explains this will help with their privacy so the children can go to school without their classmates knowing their background.
Here are some ways you can pray:
- Pray for stamina and continued compassion of the workers, that they wouldn’t experience burnout. Pray for renewal and strength.
- Pray for the women coming to the drop in center to relearn their self-worth. Pray that they would find meaning, strength, and healing in Jesus. Pray that they would learn to trust those trying to help them.
- Pray for the children in the safe house to grow in faith, and that their mothers would continue to want the best for them.
You can provide a child with a day, week, or month of safety. Click here for more information.