The reports about Andrew Brunson’s release are just another example of how little the media know about evangelical churches.
“Complete restoration is possible only through Christ”, said Matthew and Suha Daniel to Evangelical Focus. They work for Project Rescue, an organization that fights against sexual slavery in India and other regions.
Violence against women is one of the biggest problems that societies all around the world are suffering, and sexual slavery is a reality in many countries. Sadly, this is a burden that not only affects women, but there are also little girls and teenagers who suffer all kinds of abuse.
Project Rescue is a Christian organization that provides physical, emotional and spiritual rescue and restoration to women and children who have been victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking.
In an interview with Evangelical Focus, Matthew and Suha Daniel, training and development coordinators for Project Rescue, explained how we are all responsible in the fight against sexual slavery, and told us the situation of women in India.
You can listen to the AUDIO interview at the bottom of this article.
Question. What is Project Rescue?
Answer. Project Rescue serves victims of trafficking and exploitation, and girls whose mothers have been exploited, we take care of them. We also work with teenagers that have been rescued by the police and are brought to our program for a restoration
Q. You are training coordinators for Project Rescue, what role plays education in this fight against sexual slavery?
A . It is very important to set up programs in different regions, where exploitation takes place, and we also want to train new workers, because our workers are very well trained to work with trafficked young girls and also children when they have been exploited.
We are constantly training new workers to work effectively in different programs. And we are also looking for new regions where trafficking takes place, to develop a project or a program there.
Q . Although we are already in 2015, many women, even in what we call “developed countries”, don’t have access to that education, that is a reality in your country, in India, what can you tell us about the situation of women there?
A . The Indian families rejoice when a boy is born, but not when a girl is born. The girl is seen as a burden, because the girl has to be taken care, and she has to be given in marriage, and that is a lot of money. So, it has been like that for many years; but slowly, people are changing, they are valuing the girls.
Because of a lot of focus on the girls, and the influence of media, people are starting to think about girls too, something that did not happen in the past, actually, every girl in India gets free education, and before it was not available for them: they have to go to school, and the school has to accept them and to give them education.
And that is the big contrast, many young girls are abused and in a very bad situation in India and, at the same time, girls are socially progressing, they are getting into big companies, receiving higher education, becoming top officials in different companies and in the government. But, as I said, it is a land of big contrasts, and many are victims of sexual abuse too.
RESTORATION THROUGH CHRIST
Q . Is there hope for these girls? What does Jesus have to say for this big problem of sexual slavery?
A . I believe that complete and total restoration is only possible through Christ. I also believe that all of us are in a journey of restoration. Identifying a trafficking survivor and telling her that there is hope in Jesus, that we are all in a journey for that restoration, it means a lot to them. God looks at a little girl who has been trafficked, or who has born in a brothel, and He loves her as much as He loves a girl born in a regular family.
That is something we have experienced, we have seen that, even in the darkest places, even in the most hopeless places, where the sin abounds and the evil exists, Christ´s light shines and offers freedom.
We have met girls who have prayed said: ”If there is a God up there, who can see my pain, rescue me, please”, and within 2 or 3 days, they have been rescued, there have been a police raid, and the girl then has said: “There is God, He saved me”
So I believe in that total restoration through Christ, there is not a girl hidden for Him, He has their names in the palm of His Hand, like we read in the Bible, and that is a very real verse for trafficking survivors.
Q . And what can we do as Christians to fight against human trafficking and sexual abuse?
A ..There are a lot of things we can do. I think the first thing is praying. Praying does not need too much effort and it can be done anywhere. For individuals who are suffering sexual slavery and need a way out, prayer is the key.
The second thing that people can do, it is to start talking about it, the problem comes when we keep it quiet. The more silence we are about what is happening around us, more difficult will be to solve the problem.
Sometimes, specially talking from the context of India, we do not step up until somehow that affects our family and friends, then everybody steps up . Lets not wait for that to happen, lets start talking about the issue. Spreading the word is the first step.
Q . How can anyone help organizations like Project Rescue ?
A . Getting involved with the staff, to find out what are the needs of the organization. It could be to work as a graphic designer, as an educator, or as someone who knows how to get good things from the market. We can also donate, we can sponsor a girl completely. They can also go to the police to see how they can help them in time of need, and to let them know we are there whenever they need us.
Q . Is there anything else you want to say?
A . I believe in one thing: even is only one girl is liberated from sexual slavery, it is worth it. We do not have to look at the numbers, but to reach out to the person and see what can be done, it is a great way to begin. There are so many people struggling right now, we need to find new ways to reach them, talk to them, and see what can we do to help.
And there is something else: when you are walking down the street and you see a young girl, and you know she comes from a trafficking background, many times we walk faster, we do no look at her, we treat her like she was a part of the wall. But maybe if, once in a while, we look at her, even if she does not respond, and we smile, sometimes that is enough to touch their hearts.
With that gesture we are telling her: ”you are a human being”, and we are giving back to her a little piece of dignity. This is something that it takes work, but it is worth it.