I just finished Beyond the Soiled Curtain by David and Beth Grant, long time missionaries to India. It is full of hope and despair; a heart-wrenching tale of the massive child sexual slavery business in India and an inspiring story of how God is reaching into the darkness and rescuing young girls.
Obviously a short blog post will not do justice to the story of these young girls. But, I will try to convey what I can.
The roots of child sexual enslavement are many. Naturally, the fallen nature of man, the sinfulness of man, is the ultimate root. But more than that, we must recognize that the sex trade is a profitable industry. Dealers can buy girls for hundreds of dollars and rent them out for thousands of dollars a month – that is a huge profit margin. Wars, natural disasters, and upheaval all lead to conditions where the poorest and most neglected among us can become easy prey for the trafficking industry.
In India, the problem is worsened by a cultural and religious acceptance of selling female children (who are often viewed as worthless) and using them as “temple prostitutes” – which has basically devolved into a demonic enslavement. In some cases girls are promised a good job, or an education; hope for the future. In some cases parents may even be oblivious, promised that their girls will be cared for and tought a trade. The end is generally the same. Whether kidnapped or bought, the girls end up beaten, raped, tortured, and enslaved – used dozens of times a day to satisfy the most twisted desires of their patrons, beyond the soiled curtain.
But there is good news too. The light of the gospel of Jesus Christ is penetrating the darkness. The Bombay Teen Challenge (an Assemblies of God ministry reaching out to disaffected children) and Project Rescue are taking a stand.
Working in the community, they minister to the young enslaved prostitutes who are looking for hope in an utterly dark and depraved world. They find this hope in the Project Rescue workers, in Teen Challenge church services, all reflecting the glorious light of Jesus Christ. It breaks the heart of the American Christian to hear of these young girls, committing their lives to Christ, and then having to return for weeks, months, years to continue their role as sex slaves. They have no choice. They live for those two hours of freedom every week when they can slip out to the church services and receive hope, prayer, and encouragement.
They will often bring their young children, born out of their forced prostitution, and give them to Project Rescue workers and their Homes of Hope. Sometimes the Homes of Hope can only afford evening care, so the young children can be out of the brothel rooms while their mothers work. Sometimes they can place the child in a full time care facility. This is crucial, as young girls of prostitutes often end up themselves being sold into prostitution.
There are plenty of stories of victory. Young girls taken out of the brothels as infants – going on to live productive, healthy, free lives. There are young girls rescued from prostitution and set free physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The Grants describe how you can see it in the eyes. The girls’ eyes will transform from darkness – dead and lifeless; to light – alive and vibrant. (The girls rarely know how old they are, much less their birthdays, so when asked to choose their birthdays so they can celebrate, they often choose the day they were baptized … amen.)
Then there are stories of victory of a different sort. Seventy percent of the sex workers in Bombay are HIV positive. When they develop AIDS, they become worthless to their “owners” and are thrown out into the streets. Project Rescue workers are there too. Giving the girls a safe place to live out their few remaining days, surrounded by friends that have also escaped or been discarded. There is a moving bond between the rescued victims of such depravity. It penetrates even the threat of impending death. These girls, wracked in pain, know they are safe and loved. Sometimes there are miraculous healings – God is able – but often there is death, and healing in eternity.
There is also always room for help. We are told in James that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). There is room for prayer. There is room for advocacy to end human trafficking. There is room for charity. (Despite economic woes, the US dollar still goes a LONG way in places like India.) As I’ve said before, we may never know what big differences our seemingly little differences make this side of eternity.
For more information, or to give, please visit the Project Rescue site: