Nepal (MNN) — When women are trafficked into sexual slavery, their identity is erased and self-worth is destroyed.
This issue is especially rampant throughout Nepal, where trafficking increased significantly after the earthquake struck in late April 2015.
Before the earthquake, the UN said that from 2013-2014, approximately 13,000 women and children were trafficked out of Nepal. That number is only increasing, as perpetrators disguised as aid workers are luring victims away with promises of stable work.
Thankfully Vision Beyond Borders is providing a better option: a safe house dedicated to the healing and restoration of at-risk women. The women are taught life skills such as jewelry-making, hair care, and sewing. 90% of the profits go into a savings account for the women for a future small business enterprise, and the other 10% is given to the women for immediate compensation.
“We’re trying to give women an opportunity first and foremost to be healed by the transforming power of Jesus,” VBB’s Dyann Romeijn says. “Some of these women have been sold by members of their own families; some of them have had deep betrayals. They’ve trusted people who they thought were going to give them good jobs, and instead turned out that they held them hostage and used them in sex jobs.
“We also need to offer them training so that they can go out and find good jobs. Often times there is a deep stigma for women who have been trapped in sex trafficking, so it’s more difficult for them to go out and gain employment. They need to be able to do things that they can actually sell on their own–handicrafts and things like that.”
While also receiving emotional healing, many women are finding finding permanent hope through Jesus. Romeijn said that none of the 16 women in the safe house were Christians when they entered. Now, 14 have given their lives to Christ.
“We don’t require that a woman convert to Christianity in order to receive the training and receive help and be able to stay at the safe house,” Romeijn says. “We feel that we are to reach out in love to all, and pray that God would touch their hearts and that they would respond to the gospel.”
There are currently 24 million women and children enslaved around the world. Many work in deplorable conditions in brothels in Nepal and India. Though only 16 women live in the safe house, many more are being impacted.
“We actually have women who have gone through the program, who now their mission is to go out and rescue more women,” Romeijn says, “They feel like that is their call that God has given them.
“They understand what the women have been through, and they’re in the absolute best position to reach these women because they understand the trust barriers. They can actually go in and truly offer hope because they can say, ‘I was where you are, and here I am now.’”
You, too, can give hope to those robbed of their self-worth. Click here to purchase jewelry handmade by women in the safe house. To donate to VBB’s safe house fund, click here. Or, support VBB’s continued earthquake relief efforts.
Remember also to pray. Pray for those who have lost their homes and family to the earthquake. Pray especially that victims of sex trafficking would find a better means of income and discover hope in Jesus.