July 30 is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, a day proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness for the serious crime of trafficking for sex or labor. Click here to read more on the meaning behind this important day.
Though it’s only a small piece of what Food for the Hungry (FH) does globally, trafficking prevention is something we recognize has an extreme importance in the preservation of human rights. Therefore, we partnered with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) to start The House of Palms in India where housing and education is provided to girls who would otherwise be likely to fall into a life a sex work. Click here to read more about The House of Palms.
Making a difference, one at a time
One of the girls that lives at The House of Palms is Shalu. At the time of her interview, Shalu was 18 years old and she had been at The House of Palms for one year.
She grew up in a family where participating in the sex trade was normal. Her sisters work in the sex trade and she herself was forced to participate for over a year. She fought with her parents, begging them to send her to school instead but her mom said it was too expensive and financially out of reach for the family.
Shalu is happy to be at The House of Palms where she has a new and brighter future.
But after hearing about The House of Palms, there was still dissension. Shalu’s mother didn’t want her to go and live alone without the family. She said that if she went to The House of Palms, she wouldn’t be able to return.
Luckily, Shalu’s father was on her side and wanted to her to get the education she desired and deserved and took her to The House of Palms.
“I was desiring to study,” Shalu said. “I wanted to live here even if I was not allowed to return. There’s no problem in that. I wanted to come here because at home, I couldn’t study.”
Now she can! She has studied many topics, including learning about Jesus.
“God is good,” Shalu said. “There’s no one who dies for others, but Jesus died for the sins of the world. So I am very happy to know Him, I want to be here and study well. He takes away my pain. I put my faith in Jesus.”
Her future is bright
As Shalu continues to study at The House of Palms, she dreams of becoming an engineer and she’s working hard to make that dream a reality. But it’s not her only dream.
“That’s my wish, but more than anything, I want to see this flesh trade eradicated in our community. I want all those girls to experience the same joy (as me). When I go back, I will tell about the hostel, that it’s a good place to live. Above all, I want to tell them about Jesus, that He died for all our sins to forgive us.”
Shalu says poverty is what causes trafficking; people are desperate for money.
“The solution is educating the girls and helping the girls with skills development like sewing, etc. that can help them to earn bread,” Shalu said. “I want this work to end completely and all my friends to come out of it.”
You can help
Shalu says she is so grateful for a place like The House of Palms, for Food for the Hungry, YWAM and you.
“I want to thank people like you who are helping desperate, helpless girls to come out of that life,” Shalu said.
You can help today. Click here to give to Food for the Hungry and help provide brighter futures for children like Shalu.