Nora and Farah, shortly after rescue. (Photo courtesy Bright Hope International)
These are stories coming from the darkest corners, full of despair. But sometimes there are rays of hope.
Bright Hope International just shared what a difference they're making in India. Bright Hope president CH Dyer says it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time, and knowing what to do.
A month ago, says Dyer, three of their team leaders with the anti human-trafficking program were together in a heavily-populated area. "As they were sitting, having lunch, they heard screams in the marketplace. It was loud, and they went to investigate: they saw these two young teenaged girls being beaten."
Five boys--their pimps--had gotten into a fight with 14-year-old "Nora"* and 16-year-old "Farah."* By the time the team arrived, one of the boys had a brick raised over one of the girls. His intent? Obvious. It was an appalling sight. Dyer explains, "Hundreds of people had come around to watch, but nobody was doing anything." Nobody that is, but the three. "Our team walked right into the middle of all of it and told the young men to stop."
It could have turned out badly, but "the way they've described it, it was just like they were totally protected by God. They went in and took the girls to the police station. They got the boys arrested and basically found out that these two girls were being trafficked."
What happened next is partially attributed to the notoriety brought about by the gang rape case in December and the quick changes in the laws on sexual assault and trafficking. Lawmakers rushed a far-reaching package of measures through to satisfy public outrage due to that case. Dyer says, after the boys were arrested, "The girls were declared human trafficking victims, which was great because it allowed them to get some services that we could give them, as well as the government, and get them into safety."
But are Nora and Farah truly safe now? Yes and no, admits Dyer. "They know our team, and we're checking up on them regularly. So, yes, there are some greater protections for them. [But] we don't have a safe house yet in this location. We've been praying that God would put a safe house just like this for girls to come and have a transition home."
Right now, the girls are in a government-run home, where they get regular follow-up from Bright Hope's team. However, the reality is, "Government-run safe houses aren't as safe as the safe houses that we try to provide. So we're just really praying that God would touch people's hearts to[respond and] and say, ‘I want to provide a safe environment for these young women.'"
Please continue to pray for and support their anti-trafficking efforts in India. For more information and to donate, click here.
* Names changed for security