Tag Archives: sex trafficking

Start A Revolution!

As we walk into the New Year, I encourage you to make a change where you are! There are many ways to get involved, not only with anti-trafficking organizations (Red Thread Movement), but also other causes that fight for the underprivileged and those in need. Make this the year you step out and MAKE A CHANGE!

On a personal note, I have always had a heart for women who are victims of sex trafficking. In 2006 I attended a mission conference called Urbana. At this conference, I went to a seminar titled “Sex Trafficking” sponsored by International Justice Mission. I had no idea this one decision would change the rest of my life. At the seminar, I learned many things: sex trafficking is happening in most countries around the world. What a shock for me to find babies as young as one being sexually abused! Americans make up a large percentage of customers world-wide for trafficking. How unspeakable!

As appalling as this news was, it also stirred me. I didn’t know how, but I decided that day my goal was to work against trafficking. Though I have left many conferences with new passions that slowly fade over time, my desire to fight trafficking only grew stronger. It started with doing research and spreading the word. My passion has evolved over the years, and has shaped my choice in a degree and jobs. With each step, I become more determined to fight this evil. In 2011 I spent six weeks in Bolivia with Word-Made Flesh, learning from staff who serve women in prostitution in El Alto. In 2013 I embarked on a journey to Nepal working with KI Nepal, an anti-trafficking organization. I lived and worked in a safe home with rescued girls. I am honored to have spent seven months there and to partner with them in the U.S.

One rescued girl told me something I will never forget. After being in Nepal a few months, we sat together with another girl who helped translate. Sunita said, “Thank you for coming and spending time with us in the safe home. I will never forget you taking the time to come here from far away and spend time and care for us girls. Thank you.” I cannot tell you how encouraging this was! To get feedback from one of the very girls I mentored in the safe home meant the world to me. Things like that spur me on to do more!

*Name changed for protection

Picture1

Sunita and me last January. Identity protected.

What is your passion? What is your story? Whatever it is, it matters! You can make a difference in the world around you, and I challenge you in 2015 to start or continue on that journey!

What will you do? START A REVOLUTION!

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ESCAPE

We recently received the following story from Nepal:

A 16-year-old girl has been rescued after being trafficked into India, enslaved in numerous brothels, and eventually escaping. Here is her story:

Alina* grew up as a middle child in a family of 11 in a rural Nepalese village. Her mother was neglectful, so Alina moved in with her aunt.

At age 14, Alina went to visit her sister. During this particular stay, Alina’s sister had to leave town for a few days, so Alina went to a neighbor’s home while she was gone. As Alina was helping with the household chores, the neighbor, a middle-aged woman, encouraged Alina saying, “You are so fast with your work!” Alina smiled. She rarely received any positive attention at home and the change was nice. The woman told Alina that she had worked in India making good money. Alina shared that she had a sister living in India. The neighbor offered to take her to her sister and to help her find a good job. She promised Alina that she would have money to buy nice clothes and extra to send home to her family. Out of a desire to help with family finances, in particular, medical needs for her grandmother, Alina agreed to go to India.They talked for hours, discussing “life in India” and making plans. The woman warned Alina not to tell her sister about her plans, and the day after Alina’s sister returned , she slipped out to meet the woman and begin their journey.

For one week, Alina stayed with the woman in India. During this time, the woman bought Alina nice clothes, treated her to fancy meals, and taught her about Indian culture. Unbeknownst to Alina, the woman was a local prostitute and trafficker, and was preparing her to be sold in India’s Red Light District. At the end of the week, the woman told Alina the truth: that she would be forced to work as a prostitute in a brothel. Alina cried and threatened to call the police, but she could not escape. The woman met with a brothel owner to broker the sale of Alina’s freedom. Once they had reached an agreement, they forced Alina to sign documents stating that she was there by choice. Sealed with a thumbprint at the bottom, Alina’s freedom was ripped away from her.

 Taken in one of India’s Red Light Districts.

For two years, Alina was forced to work in different brothels, hotels, and dance bars in the Red Light District. Alina was sometimes rebellious and fought the traffickers and brothel owners. In one instance, she was given housework for one month instead of having customers. It was common for her to have 8 customers a night. Sometimes she even had Nepali men as customers. When this occurred, she would cry and plead with them to help. Many times, they cried as well and did not assault her. Some even tried to help her escape.

One day, after escaping from a brothel, Alina caught a train, where she met a Nepali beautician trainer. Without mentioning that she recently escaped from forced prostitution, Alina told her she wanted to return to Nepal to be with her family. The woman agreed to take her during the Dashain Festival, and that Alina could stay with her and work in her beauty parlor until then. At the end of the month, the woman escorted Alina to Nepal and stayed in contact with her by phone. After the two-week holiday, the woman invited Alina to return to India and work in the beauty parlor with her, not knowing that she was underage. Alina agreed.

Border Girl

One of the brave women that work KIN’s anti-trafficking border units.

However, on their way back to India, the two were stopped by KIN staff at the border. Both were interviewed by the staff, where it was discovered that Alina was underage. Because the woman was not aware of this, and had legitimate papers to work in India as a beautician, the staff let her go. Alina was taken to the safehouse.

Alina is now receiving counseling in the safe house for the two years she spent in India’s Red Light District. She is outgoing and willing to share information about her experiences with KIN’s staff. Though some parts of her story are hard to share, she works to continue in order to help other girls like her. Through her bravery and willingness to share, KIN hopes to better help other girls in similar situations.

*Name changed for protection.

Check back for updates on Alina and other girls in the safe house. If you are interested in helping Alina and other girls like her, please consider donating to their recovery at  EternalThreads.org.

UPDATE: Alina, along with a KIN staff member, has met with a lawyer to begin steps to prosecute the woman who trafficked her into India and sold her into the brothels and possibly some of the brothel owners.  KIN has a strong record of successfully prosecuting traffickers in Nepal. Thanks to the bravery of these girls, and your contributions to their recovery, traffickers are being put away, making Nepali villages safer for other girls.

UPDATE: Part 2 of our PureCharity fundraising has been completed! Please consider donating towards sewing machines for the girls at EternalThreads.org.


Freedom Friday: Restoration

gita

In honor of Freedom Friday, we want to share a story of freedom and restoration of one of the girls in Nepal:

Interviewer- Gita*, what would like to tell us about your story?

Gita- “I come from a family that is a little bit dysfunctional. My mother is abroad working as a migrant laborer and my father married another woman so I have a stepmother. In this time while my family was in disarray a man came into my life and showed me so much love. I thought he really loved me. Because I was longing for love from my family, I trusted this man, I thought he was a good man and I trusted him. Later on I realized he didn’t love me but he loved my body only. So he asked me to go to India with him. But on the way to India, I got caught at the border station. The sisters at K.I. Nepal counseled me. Once they started counseling me, I started to realize how bad this man was. They offered me an option- instead of going with this man, I could go to K.I. Nepal and learn a skill and a trade.

And I felt like I must do something, and I can do something. I want to show the people that I am not that kind of person and I am came to K.I. Nepal. I learned a lot when I came here. I learned a skill. I found the love that had not been a part of my life. I was so loved. I cannot even express how much I was loved. I learned a skill here and I am happy. I learned here about Jesus, and that God redeemed me, he forgave all my sins. Not only did I learn a skill, they helped me to stand on my own two feet. Now they have started a business for me. I never got so much love in my own family. But I have gotten that love here. I am so happy, way beyond my imagination. I want to be an example for other girls. I want to encourage others that they could learn this skill that I’m learning… so other sisters could have this opportunity.”

Overcome by emotions, Gita abruptly gets up. Linda, founder of Eternal Threads, embraces her, comforting her.

If you would like to support Gita and others, go to www.redthreadmovement.org.

 
*Name changed for security reasons.