Monthly Archives: October 2008

The Day My God Died

One day you are a child.

The next day, you are a slave. Your childhood has ended.

These are people who have been taken from their homes against their will, transported to a new world in which they have no family, no friends, no one to help them. They do not even speak the language. They are at the mercy of their abductors, who frequently abuse them with severe beatings and withholding of food, to ensure their cooperation and break them.

Eventually, they will all be broken.

There is a room, hidden and cramped and dirty. In this place the bidding and sale of humans is done. Those who desire slaves to live in human bondage and be forced to do their bidding, can make an offer. For an agreed amount of money, typically only a few hundred dollars, the buyer can leave with his new purchase: a human being. Too often a child.

What is this world, this place? Is it a history lesson that tells of 19th century enslavement of Africans in the New World known as the United States?

No. This is our world, today, the here and now. We live in a world where slavery is alive and well. Hundreds of thousands of people are trafficked and sold into slavery every day, all over the world – including the United States of America. Many of these are children, and most are sold into the sex trade.

This is the reality for far too many children and young adults in the world today. Human trafficking has surpassed drug trafficking to become the second biggest illegal trade in the world, only behind arms, and is the fastest growing. With an estimated revenue of $41.5 billion it is so lucrative that many drug dealers are changing their cargo to human beings.

Last night I was invited to a screening of a documentary called “The Day My God Died.” This film, narrated by Tim Robbins, focuses on the real human suffering of a handful of young Nepalese girls who were trafficked over the border into India and sold into brothels. These girls were eventually rescued – after enduring years of a hell that included rape, beatings and being forced to have sex with up to 50 men each day, all for the profit of their captors.

As the documentary tells us, many of these survivors refer to the day they were trafficked into slavery as the day their god died. Many endure numerous abortions during their captivity, carry out pregnancies from their rapists, and contract HIV/AIDS. One teenager tells of her ordeal the first day she arrived at the brothel: being beaten when she refused to have sex, and eventually raped by numerous men until she stopped resisting. She was seven years old at the time.

Another young woman in the film, Jyoti, returns to the brothel where she was held after her rescue, in order to help find and rescue other girls. Jyoti shows the secret hiding rooms where the brothel owners keep the girls, and says, “Once the door closes behind you, no one ever knows you’re there.”

Don’t let the door close forever on these girls. Watch the documentary yourself.

The film originally aired on PBS, and the PBS website has a wonderful page on it, with Director’s Notes, a filmmaker Q&A, and more information about the anti-trafficking movement.

For more information about the Nepalese organization that helps prevent trafficking, find these girls once they have been sold into the sex trade, and provides a home and rehabilitation after their rescue, visit:

Maiti Nepal – the organization in Nepal; or
Friends of Maiti Nepal – its supporters in the United States; or
Make a Donation Here

Thank you, and namaste.
Shelley

What is this Child Waiting For?

For  35  years,  the  Baikaria  community  in  the  Godda district  of Jharkhand, India, didn’t know that the shell in their village was a school, because no teacher ever came. But it’s every child’s right to learn.
         
Despite India’s growing global talent, half its children  (60 million) are not in primary school. They’re too poor, or too busy working.

CRY America and Society for Advancement in Tribes, Health, Education, Environment [SATHEE], our project partner in India, believe that child rights is linked to the rights of the community, and hence mobilized the entire Baikaria village to successfully stand up for its rights.

Keep  your  faith  in  us  and  soon  every  child  will  be  in school  and  educated.

To see the photo essay of CRY’s educational work in Baikaria click here.

What can you do?

Be an Advocate

Advocacy, simply put is to ‘amplify voice. At CRY, being a Child Rights advocate means – to amplify the voice of children. Too many millions of India’s children are still denied the simple joys of childhood, love, protection and so often life itself. And for any change on a significant scale, it will require each one of us to start thinking of children, not as objects of sympathy, but as citizens with the same rights that we consider our due. You do not require any great mission or vision to stand up for what you think is the right thing to do, say, feel, or share.

We believe all children irrespective of their age, caste, class, and gender must be born and treated equally. Each of them is entitled to their right to a childhood.

We invite you to join us by truly involving and committing yourself in this movement to put children first.

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