January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness month and I want to share with you the story of our friend, Nirmala. This is a real story that mirrors the experience for many girls who are now trapped in the red-light districts of our world.
Nirmala woke to the sound of her step-father pacing their small hut. Since her mother left them a few months prior, Nirmala has been at the mercy of a man who never considered her to be his own. It’s scary. He isn’t kind and a 15-year-old girl is just another mouth to feed and a constant reminder of her mother’s betrayal.
“He is coming today,” Nirmala timidly says. “My father is coming and I will no longer be your problem.”
Nirmala hadn’t seen her birth father in so many years, but maybe he would love her. She hoped he would love her. She couldn’t remember why he left, but she prayed she wasn’t the reason. No matter, anywhere was surely better than here.
The pacing stops at the sound of her voice.
“Your father is dead,” He says without turning her way. “Now I have to think of something for you.”
Fear overtakes Nirmala’s body as his words replay in her mind.
He leaves for a few hours and returns, placing a train ticket in her hand.
Her young mind unaware of the horrors in store for her in the city, Nirmala boards the train, never to return to her village again.
Over our many years of rescuing girls from trafficking, we have seen time and time again how providing for the basic needs of at-risk children drastically reduces their chances of being trafficked. Many times, parents who are desperate to care for their children will turn to traffickers who provide an immediate answer to their problem. These traffickers, who trade money for the lie of a hopeful future in another place, force innocent children into a lives of slavery.
This National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we hope not only to rescue more girls, but to prevent more from being trafficked in the first place. Will you be a part of our prevention efforts by providing children with food, water, education and freedom?
You can make a difference.