‘Children they are, not slaves’.
Sister Gracy Rodrigues, an Indian nun with the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity (the Canossians), is involved in rescuing child victims of trafficking and active with the Asian Movement of Women Religious Against Human Trafficking (AMRAT), a network of 52 religious congregations fighting slavery.
Sister Gracy recently shared her story:
“Every two minutes, a child is being prepared for sexual exploitation. More than 200 million children today are child labourers. 73 million of these children are below 10 years of age. Every year 22 thousand die due to work accidents. Approximately 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation over the past 30 years. They are trafficked for sexual exploitation, pornography production, forced marriage, illegal adoption, forced labour, and to become child soldiers. Trafficking clearly violates the fundamental right to a life of dignity.
“Every moment I think of the victims of human trafficking I feel it in my bones the cry for justice, a cry for humanity. Through the network of different organisations like International Justice Mission, Rescue Foundation, I got the opportunity of attending the rescue operation in red light areas.
“The first rescue operation was an experience that I cannot forget. The place was stinking, polluted, dark and horror. I was shocked and yet my spirit desired for light, for comfort, a comfort to my people. I saw in the eyes of those innocent three children a cry for life. They were treated as slaves. They pleaded and cried before us to be taken away, for they were beaten, burnt, kicked, cheated and looted by the pimp owners. I thought the process of relieving them would be faster, but it took the whole night to relieve these children. This experience has left a mark in my heart which will always move me towards justice and love for the less fortunate, the forgotten, the lost, the least and the unknown.
“Family and community are extremely important as they play an important role in the upbringing of the children and in the making of civilisation. On the contrary, Slavery is a dehumanising, depraved system that seeks to reduce once worth and dignity and thus leads us into the culture of death.
“Today every corner of the society and the country we hear the cry of the children, “I am not safe.” Does this prick my conscience or do my ears hear this cry? Whenever I hear a cry of these children, be it on the streets, or slums, or remand homes, or platforms, my heart speaks to me, ‘Children they are, not slaves’.”
- Pray for the millions of children caught up in human trafficking and slavery around the world, especially in Asia. Pray that, in the midst of the darkness of their situation, they will be comforted by the presence of Jesus and come to know His healing love and grace in their lives.
- Pray for those working to rescue victims of human trafficking. Pray for their safety, for wisdom and discernment as they seek who to rescue.
- Pray for increased opportunities and resources to rescue more children from slavery, and for these workers to be channels of Christ’s love and healing to these vulnerable children.
- Pray for the families of these children, for viable and sustainable solutions to the poverty and related problems that cause so many to sell their children into slavery. Pray that many will come to know the life, love and grace of Jesus Christ.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in these communities and countries, to bring and end to human trafficking and slavery. Pray that perpetrators of this industry will be brought to justice, and will encounter the life changing truth of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 1 vs 17: “learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”