India (MNN) — Monday is World Day on Trafficking in Persons, a reminder that 21 million victims are forced into labor worldwide. A third of them are children.
Those numbers are sobering enough by themselves, but Donna Glass of India Partners knows they go with faces.
India Partners is working within red light districts in Mumbai, India to provide safe houses for young girls and boys wanting to escape “the horror and degradation of that area.”
“What we focus on is providing a place where children can grow up in a healthy environment with good food, clean clothes, and good hygiene habits,” Glass says. They also provide medical checkups, education, friendships, and real relationships-everything they need to thrive, not just survive.
“Some of the children, because of everything they’ve witnessed, also suffer from PTSD, and when they’re in the home they get counseling and they get help through these issues.”
These are children who live in one-room shacks with their mothers in the red-light districts of the city. Kids are forced to wander the streets or even hide beneath beds in their homes while their mothers are seeing customers and trying to scrape out a living.
“You’d be witness to beatings, and you might even be subjected to those yourself, and you’d live in the fear, especially as a young girl, that as you get older you might end up in the same enslavement that you’ve witnessed your mother going through.”
So when mothers have a chance to send their children to the safe homes India Partners sets up, many of them jump at the chance.
The homes allow India Partners workers to build relationships with mothers by meeting them on a weekly basis. Even though the kids don’t live with their moms any more, they’re far from out of the picture.
“It’s not going in and snatching a child out of the red light district,” Glass says. “The mother makes a choice to provide a different life for their child.”
Moms want what’s best for their kids, and that includes mothers who were tricked and sold into slavery.
Want to help support this mission? Click here to help kids stay safe and healthy. It only costs $7 to keep a child safe for one day.
“No child is turned back out of the house once they’ve been brought into the house,” Glass says. “They’re there for as long as they want to be and for as long as their mother is willing to have them stay there.”
These are kids who are forced to watch their moms face horrific abuse, all the while wondering if they’re going to be next, but they’re also kids who want to be teachers and nurses and doctors and engineers. India Partners wants to give them that chance.
India Partners is a ministry whose vision is an India rich with hope, justice, and compassion. For them, that starts with kids.