Christian Solidarity International makes the rescue and rehabilitation of child trafficking victims a global priority
NEWS SOURCE: Adams Group
For Immediate Release (Westlake Village, CA) – Long before the “Sound of Freedom” movie sounded the alarm on child trafficking, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) has been making the rescue and rehabilitation of child trafficking victims a global priority. CSI has reported that last year was the most violent year ever recorded for Christians in India. There was also an increase in cases of human trafficking in a country where 220 million people survive on below 32 Indian rupees a day (less than half a dollar).
Working with a partner on the ground in India, CSI rescues and rehabilitates trafficking victims in two of the most vulnerable states, Jharkhand and West Bengal. In 2022, 65 trafficked victims were rescued, most of them children.
One of the victims was Pinki, a 13-year-old girl from a poor family in Jharkhand. Pinki shared her dream of studying at a private school with a neighbor, Soni, who turned out to be a trafficker. After gaining her trust, Soni trafficked Pinki to Bihar state, where she was sold and forced to work as a domestic servant and sex slave. Pinki was locked inside a small room and not given enough to eat.
When CSI’s partner learned about her situation, it sought the help of the police, which was denied. Its team members then risked their lives to locate the trafficker. They rescued Pinki and she was reunited with her parents.
Raising awareness of human trafficking through ongoing prevention campaigns in the communities of CSI’s project partners help women and children learn how to identify traffickers. They also teach skills to dozens of vulnerable families enabling them to support themselves. CSI also supports two rehabilitation centers where 22 rescued girls live, study, and acquire skills. CSI’s partners in India say with more elections scheduled this year and economic inequality on the rise, human trafficking will continue to be an issue.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, one in three of the world’s child brides live in India. Out of the 223 million child brides in the country, close to half were married before the age of 15.
Girls in the Murshidabad district are especially vulnerable due to high levels of poverty. Many families view their daughters as a financial burden and are willing to marry them off at a young age in exchange for a dowry or financial compensation. This was the case with a 16-year-old girl named Jasmine whose parents had agreed to a businessman’s proposal to marry their daughter. In return, he had promised them money. When Jasmine refused to go through with the marriage, her parents physically abused her and locked her inside the house. However, she showed courage and turned to a support group run by the CSI partner. The partner’s anti-trafficking team tried to contact Jasmine’s parents but were refused a meeting.
When the anti-human trafficking team, accompanied by local police, conducted a raid on Jasmine’s home, her parents initially claimed she was not there. However, she was found during a search of the premises, frightened and trembling. She reported to the team that her parents were forcing her into marriage and had been physically and emotionally pressuring her to comply. The police warned Jasmine’s parents that if they continued to force her into marriage, they would be arrested and charged with child marriage. She is now back in school and is being closely monitored for her safety.
CSI and their partners continue to supply legal and material support for victims of religious violence and discrimination, promotion of a national network against human trafficking, aid for victims of human trafficking as well as the rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration of victims.
About Christian Solidarity International:
Founded over 40 years ago, CSI is an international Christian human rights organization, campaigning for religious liberty and human dignity, and assisting victims of religious persecution, victimized children and victims of catastrophe. CSI delivers emergency food assistance, medical treatment, and other lifesaving aid to victims of religious persecution and natural disasters in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Nigeria, South Sudan, Pakistan, and other hotspots around the globe. CSI is currently the only organization working to liberate Christians and other South Sudanese forced into slavery by government-backed forces during the Sudanese civil war. For more information visit https://csi-usa.org.