Sex Slavery is the hidden secret in most societies. It is not discussed but it affects most families or extended families in a country like India. In India alone 200 girls A DAY are sold into prostitution. This is NOT their choice, and shockingly, 80% of them are sold by family members.
We drove through the streets of a major Indian City to an office tucked away in a dead-end street, hidden away from most potential visitors. The office is not easily found. When we arrived at this very ordinary building, we were met by Michael. Michael has been rescuing young girls from the brothels of their city for the last 10 years. There is a real ‘fire’ in his eyes as he talks about these horribly abused children. Michael works with the Indian national anti-trafficking police task force. When young girls are discovered in a brothel, the task force is mobilized, and police raids are conducted to rescue these children. In the brothels, the youngest children command the highest prices. They are hidden away from the view of most clients, and are often locked in small closets when they are not with the ‘clients’. Hidden, and horribly abused, life is a living nightmare for these children.
In India alone 200 girls A DAY are sold into prostitution
Saritha was 12 when her uncle offered to take her to a nearby circus. Her parents said yes, and she eagerly anticipated this outing with her uncle. Fear gripped her young heart when they did not go to the circus, but to a house of an evil man. To her horror, Saritha’s uncle sold her to a child trafficker for $250.00. She was a very beautiful girl and was bought for a premium price. Most children are sold for $100.00 to $200.00, and most, like Saritha, are sold by family members. When he returned home without her, the uncle told her parents that Saritha had run away at the circus and he was unable to find her. Saritha had entered the underworld of child trafficking. The trafficker would sell her to a brothel for about $2,000.00, and she would be a sex slave for the rest of her life.
Days and nights turned into the blur of a living death as she was sold daily to multiple men.
Several years later, the door to the brothel was left unlocked, and Saritha escaped! What joy when she was able to flee the horrible place and return to her family. She was able to return home after years in her prison. She knocked on the door, and was greeted by angry parents. Why had she run away? Where had she been? Saritha told them the story of her uncle’s betrayal and the horrible life she had been forced to endure. To her shock and dismay, her parents informed her that they no longer had a daughter. They told her that THEIR daughter had died. Her lifestyle had brought shame to the family! The victim became a victim once more, as she was turned away to the streets.
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The grieving teen ager made her way to a police station, and they referred her to Michael’s Home. Saritha now lives in the Rescue House, is in school, and has a family and hope for the future.