Many people don’t know slavery still exists and yet those who do, try not to think about it. They turn the other way and pretend it doesn’t exist or they don’t wish to get involved in trying to stop the cruelty of human beings. I was completely unaware of it until I myself came face to face with a reality that changed my thinking. It must have been close to one hundred degree weather when I met these children in a mining pit in India. I was hot and I was not prepared for the facts. There is more slavery today than what existed in all four generations of African slave trade in the past.
As I sit here this morning, drinking my warm cup of coffee and bread in the oven, I am blessed. I am warm, I am loved and I am taken care of with hope for tomorrow. As I recently visited India, I was exposed to much hardship and poverty. I saw the cruelty of slavery. They have little hope to be rescued and the love they may receive has a distorted view. They are abused and scarred for life physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Let me introduce Anitha. She was a slave in a rock mines in India. There they dig out granite, slate, and marble. Now every time I notice a granite table top or a marble floor I wonder if it came from India. I wonder if it came from the help of children slaves. The first time we met Anitha, she stood there in front of us with no smile and she seemed emotionless. Her clothes were oversized, tattered and stained. She did not want to look at us as if she stood in fear. She didn’t know how old she was but we guessed she was around twelve or thirteen because she was just starting to develop into womanhood. As we asked her questions, we found out she had been there for about a year. She was sold to the owner of the mines for around $250.00. Her parents were as many parents in India who face starvation and extreme poverty and look for the only solution to surviving. What parents think they are doing is saving their children from living a life of begging, poverty and starving but what they don’t know is the cruelty of slavery and what they choose for their children is actually hell on earth. Anitha gets one meal a day. She works every bit of light in a day and seven days a week. She is beaten if she shows any type of emotion. She cannot cry for if she does, she will be beat. During the day, she could be raped by any of the men who also work at the mines. She must learn how to survive with animal instinct. At night she is prostituted out for more money. She has been forced to abort three pregnancies all before the age of fifteen. She is among two hundred other children who also are slaves. When they reach the age of 19, they can stay and work for $1 a day. Many stay because it has become a way of life for them. They do not even know what life on the outside is like. They walk around living in a numb way, thinking there is no other way. If they leave, then they face the extreme poverty and a life of begging being an outcast of society. With no education, they have little hope. With no spiritual guidance they do not know about eternal life. They are trapped in a small box as of existence of a rat in a shoebox.
This is Maridos. He has been a slave as long as he remembers and he doesn’t know old he is. He is believed also to be close to teen years.
He shows us his small bucket of lunch. My son asks him if he can taste it. This brings a smile to Maridos’s face. This is his first time to see white Americans and he is curious why we have come to visit this area.
There are also stories from another child Hussian who wishes to be rescued. We had promised to return to purchase his freedom so that he too can come and live in our home of Mercy29, which is ten hours from him. His freedom awaits for the amount of $2500.oo. He wants his sister also to be rescued. His sister who is seventeen is also prostituted out at night and has been forced to have nine pregnancies removed from her. We also are saddened to hear the other siblings have committed suicide because they refused to live in this manner. One of the girls we wanted to rescue we found out later that she was sold to a buyer for $5000.00 to go into prostitution in another city. Our hopes to rescue her is now obsolete.
We met a one hundred year old woman who still remains working there in the mines. She was brought there as a child slave. She married there and had several children there who all remain in the mines working daily. She does not know about school, education, or life outside the mines.
I also asked how come the government officials don’t do anything about this. I was answered with, “they also are paid with bribes to turn and look away”. It is a way of life and survival in this world for most. If you have money, then you have power to run things the way you want.
As we left there that day, there was a hole left in my heart. We left our contact person money to return later in the week to purchase their freedom. The owner after several days of negotiating finally allowed us to take Anitha and Maridos out of the mines for the sum of $7000.oo. Many people would not agree on doing this. They may say we only contribute to the cause. We know the owner will buy more children, in turn adding to the cause. By buying the children, he feeds several families and it is the only blessing we see in this however we know the future of the children. Maybe if you put yourself in this spot. Would you walk away from a child in slavery? Can you make the difference in one child’s life by pulling them out of this situation. My hopes in this adventure and in the future is to save as many children as we can. It is so overwhelming and it seems like an impossible task. However, the child we may save, could however years to come be the person who stops this madness of slavery that still exists around the world today.
Approximately 12 million…prostitution to forced labour and childrecruitment into armed forces…the plight of some 300,000 children currently being used in armed…700,000 men, women and children trafficked across borders… yes, slavery still exist today and it is time we come together and do something about it. http://www.unicef.org/protection/usa_39234.html
I would love to hear your comments, prayers or solutions on this matter. What are your thoughts?