Answering India’s Call
By Shalanda Lucas – Volunteer Contributing Writer
Remember when you were ten-years old? A bad day would consist of being forced to stay inside and complete chores as opposed to playing outside. Momentarily, imagine a different reality: A life of extreme poverty, which consists of parents who leave you home alone while they travel miles away to earn just enough money for food. You are vulnerable and ten-years old.
As you wander, you are approached by an unfamiliar person. He sees the pain and hopelessness in your eyes because he knows from experience the world in which you live. He coerces you to come “work” for him and as a result, you have become a slave; sold into a life of involuntary domestic labor, child begging or sexual exploitation. For many children in India, this hypothetical scenario, though dismal, is authentic and real.
“Every year, hundreds of thousands of girls are trafficked from rural India to work as domestic servants in middle-class homes in India’s fast-growing urban areas. They are expected to work at least 15 hours a day for food, lodging and salaries well below the legal minimum monthly wage of about $125. Many end up cut off from their families, abused and treated like slaves. Some are sexually assaulted…‘The trafficking of young children, especially girls, under the garb of placement agencies is the biggest organized crime in India today. And the worst part is, it is right there in the open, in our homes, and yet invisible….’”1 The facts above demonstrate the need for Destiny Rescue to expand its rescue, aftercare and prevention programs throughout India.
According to the U.S. State Department, “India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking…Ninety percent of trafficking in India is internal, and those from India’s most disadvantaged social strata, including the lowest castes, are most vulnerable…An increasing number of job placement agencies lure adults and children for forced labor or sex trafficking under false promises of employment… Women and girls are trafficked within the country for the purpose of forced prostitution.”2
The U.S. State Department developed a scale in which it groups countries based on efforts to prevent human trafficking, punish criminals, and protect victims. There are three groups, or tiers, with one being the the best overall rating for fighting human trafficking and three being the worst. India is ranked as a “Tier 2” nation, which means the country does not fully comply with minimum standards, but has made improvements. Although the efforts of India’s government are commendable, evidence suggests that the problem is bigger than what the government can face alone. Furthermore, UNICEF’s findings demonstrate the need for Destiny Rescue to begin rescue and rehabilitation work in India.
“Trafficking of children also continues to be a serious problem in India. The nature and scope of trafficking range from industrial and domestic labor, to forced early marriages and commercial sexual exploitation. Existing studies show that over 40 percent of women sex workers enter into prostitution before the age of 18 years. Moreover, for children who have been trafficked and rescued, opportunities for rehabilitation remain scarce and reintegration process arduous….”3 In light of the facts, Destiny Rescue must answer the somber cries gone unheard.
Our desire is to inject hope into a culture that has been indoctrinated with the belief that the poor should be treated inhumanely. That women and girls are objects used for pleasure. That men and boys are machines who should work beyond exhaustion. We have a responsibility to defend the weak and promote peace. We must come together to end this injustice, to rescue the abused and broken-hearted. Now is the time that we accept the call from India.
Want to stop child trafficking in India? You can by helping Fund The Costs of our new rescue and aftercare programs starting in India in 2013. Be the reason countless children will be rescued and forever saved!
1 Simon Denyer (2013, January). India’s child maids face slavery, abuse and sometimes rape. Retrieved from http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-19/world/36474454_1_placement-agencies-child-labor-bhuwan-ribhu.
2 US Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report 2012. Retrieved from www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2012/192367.htm.
3 UNICEF. The Children - Picture in India. Retrieved from http://www.unicef.org/india/children_1414.htm.