Bringing safety to children of the red light districts in India

India (MNN) –The US State Department says that for all forms of human trafficking, India serves as a source, destination, and passage nation. This includes the millions of women who are enslaved in prostitution today. And that means millions of children are also growing up in the red light districts in India.

Children exposed to this lifestyle have a greater chance of thinking its normal. Some will follow their mother’s footsteps as a sex slave. Others will learn from the exploiters. Even if they take a different trajectory, they will likely face abuse and neglect during their time in the brothels. And, especially for young girls, there is a greater risk that they will be coerced into the business by their mother’s pimp.

This is why India Partners is working with their partners on the ground to make sure that mothers, even if they feel like they cannot escape the sex trade, have a choice about how their children grow up.

This Christmas, one of the items included in India Partners Gift Catalog is “Days of Safety.” While safety for a child is truly invaluable, a small gift from someone like you can make it a reality.

Donna Glass of India Partners explains that they get to know some of the women in the red light districts and let them know there is another option for their child—one that includes education and a healthy, safe environment.
A girl named Asha
Right now, there are many children who are trapped because of the lifestyle their mother is living in order to provide for them. Because they work at night, mothers and their children sleep during the day, and so the children do not get to go to school. But what happens when the mother is working at night?

Glass shares the story of one little girl named Asha who is still stuck in the red light district.

“In the evenings, she’ll hear someone knocking on the door and once that evening time hits, she gets kicked out of the home and is forced to wait on the streets while her mother works… She sees men coming into her mom’s room every single night. She says she wants to just shout and run away, but she can’t. She has no place to go.”

Asha is also at risk of following her mother’s footsteps. Already she has been a victim of sexual abuse. Glass says one time when Asha fell in the street, a couple of men came to help her up, but they began to touch her inappropriately.

“She cries when she recalls this memory and she says she just hated it!” Glass says.

But with help from people like you, children like Asha can grow up in an environment where she is loved and valued and encouraged to pursue a better, more sustainable future. She can find healing and discover her self-worth.
Days of Safety
“Fifty dollars will provide a week of safety where the child can be in a place that she’ll receive food, medical care, education, counseling as needed, and most importantly, a safe place to sleep every night,” Glass says.

With the “Days of Safety,” the children get to experience an alternative life where they see that human life is valued and that there is hope for the future.

India Partners is also involved in outreach to the women, too. They recognize that women are often tricked or coerced into the trade where they will continue to be the victim over and over again.

“It seems like when you’re living in a brothel area that this becomes a normal way of life. And that doesn’t mean a person likes it. I think many of the women who are there feel trapped. And so we also work with them, providing counseling and also coordinating with other agencies in Mumbai who provide safe homes for women.”

In these homes, women who choose to leave will have access to resources like literacy training. It is an effort to help them regain their self-worth.

Glass says when they provide children with “Days of Safety” and hopefully remove the children from the red light districts permanently, the goal is never to separate the mother and child. The goal is that both would be rescued and eventually be reunited.

If you’d like to provide a child with “Days of Safety,” click here.