India (MNN) — Survivors of June’s severe flooding in India are at-risk again.
This time, it’s not the weather or sickness posing a threat to livelihood. Instead, it’s predators involved in the world’s second largest illegal trade: human trafficking.
According to ActionAid, a UK-based group fighting poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America, women and children in northern India might now face the risk of being sold as brides, sex workers or domestic servants.
“Displacement of people on such a massive scale increases their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse,” says ActionAid’s regional manager for Uttarakhand, Debabrat Patra.
“We saw human trafficking peak after the 2004 tsunami, Orissa cyclone, and Latur earthquake and we have fears that the same will happen here.”
Traffickers target the vulnerable, and it usually starts with someone the victim knows. CH Dyer of Bright Hope International says Satya was kidnapped by people she trusted.
“For two years they trapped her,” Dyer says. “They kept her captive and they moved her around, and they used her. And, they made money off of her.”
Satya was walking home from school one day in northern India when a man she recognized from the village approached her. He told Satya that her father was very sick, and that she needed to come with him.
“She got into the car, and all of a sudden realized there was another man in the car, and they weren’t taking her to the hospital,” says Dyer. “They were kidnapping her.”
According to a June 2013 report from the United Nations, “trafficking in human beings, especially in women and children, has become a matter of grave concern in India.” Almost every form of trafficking and exploitation is on the rise in India, and nearly every state if affected.
While exact figures vary, a significant portion of the world’s 27 million modern-day slaves are trafficked to, from, and through India.
But, Satya is one of the very few lucky ones.
“Just last month…Satya got ahold of a cellphone, called her brother, told [him] where she was, and her brother contacted our team,” recalls Dyer. “They set up plans, contacted the police, and they rescued Satya.
“They [also] arrested the leaders, the man and his wife and others who were running this brothel.”
Now, Satya’s taking steps toward recovery in Bright Hope’s safe house. She’s hearing the Gospel and learning about Christ’s redemptive power.
“Pray for Satya right now,” Dyer suggests. “Thirty seconds of just asking Jesus to come and just make Himself real to her.”
While trafficking is rampant and seemingly growing in India, its evil claws are wrapped around the West, too.
“It’s the same type of evil,” Dyer says. “It’s something in the heart of mankind that just is not anywhere near to what God wants us to be doing.”
The U.S. Justice Department is still compiling figures, but says most victims are women and a growing number of children. The average “age of entry” is 13 years old.
No matter where it’s taking place, human trafficking and the sex trade are severe crimes against those made in the image of God. Pray for the victims trapped in this evil. Pray for those profiting from the sale of sex; pray they will find salvation and redemption in the blood of Jesus Christ.