My first personal encounter with the evils of human trafficking occurred during a trip to Eurasia. I was there with a team whose objective was to expand a vocational center and help start another one outside the city.
My role was to do a daily “seminar” with Rescued and at-Risk ladies at the Vocational Center. Our theme was : “You Were Made for a Purpose”. They needed to hear that their lives could change and that their hopelessness and despair could end!
It became critically important for me to see where the trafficking story began for these ladies. To see what they had escaped. So along with the director, and one other young lady, our small team of 3 set off for a tour of the largest Red Light District in the city, where approximately 13,000 woman and girls are enslaved.
Our instructions were to “not make eye contact”, stick closely to our leader, and follow instructions immediately. Evening was falling as we wound our way through a labyrinth of narrow lanes-full of garbage, raw sewage, and unspeakable filth. Barefooted children darted around us, laughing and playing like kids will do on any playground in America. Music was playing, vendors were calling out trying to sell their foods and alcoholic drinks.
There was an eerie darkness to the place that was not due to the time of day. It was a thick darkness that I sensed to be the presence of “pure evil”.
Dark, and yet with an orange glow—reminiscent of a painting of Dante’s Inferno I had once seen. And believe me, we sensed and saw manifestations of heavy oppression all around us as we moved through the district.
Our team leader stopped a few times to engage “working girls” in conversation. She had business cards that she would give if they showed an interest in coming to the nearby Vocational Center. While a ring of ladies gathered around to hear what she had to say, I felt compelled to look up and over my right shoulder.
What I saw in those next few moments has changed my life forever.
My eyes immediately locked onto the unusual green eyes of a little girl, just a few feet away from us. She was dressed like a beautiful little Princess, in a bright reddish-orange sari with beads and sparkle. She wore a half veil so that only her eyes were visible; this indicated to potential “clients” that she was pure. She couldn’t have been more than 12 years old.
Her madam stood by her side, bursting with excitement and pride over the high fee she would be collecting that night. She leered and called out to men as they walked by, looking for the man that would pay big bucks to rape and destroy this darling child.
I’ll never, ever forget the look in those beautiful eyes. The eyes truly are the windows of the soul. The message hers sent me was: “help me-I’m terrified-what is happening to me? Please rescue me!”
I never felt so helpless in all my life.
I’m a tall, pretty sturdy lady and she was so tiny; I know I could have easily picked her up and run away, but I would have endangered our small team of ladies and I certainly wouldn’t have gotten far with all the pimps, brothel owners, and corrupt “security officers” that were nearby who would have stopped us one way or another. And so there wasn’t a single thing I could physically do for her.
A moment later, our team started walking again, so there was no opportunity to see how quickly she was sold, or who the “monster” was that thought it was OK to devastate this young life forever.
I don’t remember finishing our tour, or getting back in our vehicle. I was stunned and speechless. Broken hearted. Distraught.
To this day, I am haunted by her lovely face. Every event that we speak at, I ask for intercession on her behalf, and for all the little girls she represents. I don’t know her real name, and so I nicknamed her “Moti”-it means “little pearl” in Hindi. I found a picture online that looks uncannily like her, and so I include it here, to help you visualize what I saw, and I hope it inspires you to pray for all the “Motis” that are being sold for the first time.
Statistics tell us that in the few minutes you have spent reading this blog, several Motis have been newly trafficked. Maybe we cannot reach them all in time, but we can reach some! If we all did something, we could make a dent in this global epidemic.
I know this is quoted often, but it bears much repetition:
“Now that you have seen, you may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say that you did not know.” William Wilberforce
I choose to not look away, but to look for ways that I can help fight this modern day slavery. “Withhold not good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it.”
What’s in the power of YOUR hand today? Can you go? Can you pray? Can you give? The “Motis” of this world are desperately crying out for rescue and restoration. You can make a difference.