Series Code: HIM
Program Code: HIM000037A
00:22 Asian Aid is an organization giving hope,
00:25 an organization fostering
00:27 permanent positive change in the lives
00:29 of disadvantaged children and their communities,
00:32 an organization that is committed
00:34 to making a difference in the lives of children
00:36 and those who are in need,
00:38 serving communities in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka,
00:42 Myanmar, and India.
00:52 For the last 40 years,
00:53 Asian Aid has invested in the futures of people
00:56 and their investment has proven infinite returns.
01:01 Driven by their dedication to helping those
01:03 who have the least,
01:05 Asian Aid is an organization
01:07 focused on the welfare of children
01:09 implementing diverse development projects
01:12 and sponsoring thousands of children.
01:14 Their outreach spans from child rescue operations
01:18 to providing an education for orphans,
01:20 deaf, and the blind children
01:23 giving them a sense of place, a home.
01:26 But above all, Asian Aid is an organization giving hope,
01:30 giving hope to children, giving hope to communities,
01:34 giving hope to the ones who need it the most.
01:38 This is Hope in Motion.
01:54 Hi, I'm Jean Boonstra.
01:56 A couple of years ago, I visited India with Asian Aid.
01:59 Now as you know, Asian Aid is an organization
02:02 that's committed to making a difference
02:04 in the lives of children in poverty.
02:07 Asian Aid provides education to children and young adults
02:10 through its scholarship programs in India,
02:12 Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Nepal.
02:15 Along with its sponsorship program,
02:17 Asian Aid also runs orphanages, a school for slum children,
02:21 and schools for the deaf and the blind.
02:24 Now together with local church and school leadership
02:27 Asian Aid is committed to providing opportunities
02:30 to those in need.
02:32 Shawn and I and our daughters have been privileged
02:34 to sponsor a girl through Asian Aid.
02:36 And I must tell you,
02:38 it has been such a blessing for us
02:40 to be able to make a difference in her life.
02:44 Now during my trip to India, I met some amazing people
02:47 who are the driving force
02:48 behind Asian Aid's mission to reach out to those in need.
02:52 I met Anita, who is in charge
02:54 of Asian Aid's Operation Child Rescue program in India.
02:58 Now Operation Child Rescue is a program
03:00 that rescues and rehabilitates girls
03:03 who are trafficked
03:04 and sold as prostitutes in the sex industry.
03:07 I got to talk to Anita and she shared with me
03:10 the challenges and the dangers
03:12 that she and her team face in rescuing these girls.
03:19 Anita, it's nice to see you again.
03:21 We met a little while ago,
03:23 and it's wonderful to visit with you again.
03:26 You are the director
03:27 of Operation Child Rescue in India.
03:30 Can you tell me a little bit, just briefly
03:32 what that organization is all about?
03:35 Well, Jean, it's lovely to meet you again.
03:38 As the name suggests, Operation Rescue
03:40 is about rescuing women, children, babies,
03:44 who have been subjected to the worst kind of abuse
03:47 and who have been trafficked for different reasons.
03:50 It could be
03:52 children who are being forced to beg on the streets
03:54 or it could children who are being forced to work
03:57 in hazardous industries like bag manufacturing,
04:02 basically working long hours and against their will
04:06 or it could girls and women
04:08 who are trafficked to the worst of the brothels,
04:11 locked inside and forced to see customers
04:14 every day against their will.
04:17 And this, this is a global issue,
04:19 but you are headquartered in Bangalore, India.
04:24 Tell me how long have you being doing this work yourself
04:27 Well, it started about 10 years ago,
04:29 so 10 years is a good time to say,
04:31 I have been doing this work.
04:34 We started off basically
04:35 looking at the whole issue of trafficking
04:38 and whether it existed in Bangalore
04:41 and what were children being trafficked for
04:44 and we've ended up now doing rescues with the police
04:48 and finding rehabilitation options
04:51 for those whom we rescue.
04:53 We also do a little bit of prevention
04:55 in areas where we find more children going missing
04:58 or more girls being recruited for jobs
05:01 to prevent that from happening.
05:05 You know, it's hard to hear the stories
05:08 of what you are doing, because you are dealing
05:10 with some really, really sad situations.
05:13 Children are in danger, young women are in danger.
05:17 Let's talk for a minute about the young girls.
05:20 They are recruited from rural areas typically.
05:23 Tell us a little bit about how do they get recruited
05:26 and what age are these girls?
05:28 Well, when we first started work
05:30 and when we first started rescues the girls were,
05:32 the average age was about 17,
05:36 but today the girls are much younger
05:38 and the average age is close to 14.
05:42 So, you know, really young girls being recruited
05:47 out of schools even.
05:48 You asked me about why they get recruited.
05:51 Well, it's a combination of a number of factors,
05:55 poverty being the number one factor
05:58 that makes them vulnerable to this.
06:00 So they are very poor,
06:02 they don't know about the issue of trafficking.
06:06 Usually, they don't have a skill
06:07 and so they can't get jobs or they're in school,
06:11 but dropout for different reasons
06:13 either to look after a sibling or a parent not being well
06:17 or the school just not being important enough for them
06:21 to complete education.
06:22 And so they're pulled out of school to get married.
06:25 And it's at this time
06:27 that the traffickers prey on these vulnerabilities.
06:30 You know, the girl is at home
06:31 or the girl is looking for a job
06:34 or the girl just wants to get out of this poverty situation.
06:38 And they prey on this
06:40 and will go in and recruit them.
06:42 Sometimes they send in people
06:44 and, you know, fall in love with them
06:45 and promise a better life, to marry them.
06:49 Sometimes they offer them jobs.
06:50 They will come in and say, "We will get you a job. "
06:54 And because they're naive
06:56 and have no knowledge of what this is,
06:59 they will go with them.
07:01 But of course the job doesn't exist on the other side
07:03 or it exists in a much, much worse way
07:05 than they would have ever thought.
07:07 And sometimes when they take babies,
07:10 they kidnap them.
07:11 So the younger children-
07:13 So just snatched from their mothers or their homes?
07:16 Yes, snatched from hospitals even.
07:18 You know, they've taken babies, kidnap babies from hospitals
07:21 or they take babies from orphanages
07:25 or young children
07:26 and they will send them to the begging syndicates.
07:30 They'll put these children out on the street
07:32 and they have to bring in
07:33 certain amount of money every day.
07:37 So these young girls are willing to take
07:40 sort of a risk because they're vulnerable,
07:43 they're little naive to the danger,
07:46 they're looking to help their family
07:48 or to support themselves, a number of factors.
07:52 As you go in
07:53 and you actually rescue girls from these brothels,
07:57 just walk us through a little bit
07:58 how that process works?
08:03 I have learned over the years not to breakdown,
08:07 to react in the right ways.
08:09 My first time inside a brothel, I was terrified
08:12 because I didn't expect what we saw.
08:15 You know, usually these places are--
08:17 They select places that are easy hiding places,
08:21 so you have number of rooms inside a main entrance.
08:25 If it's a house or a building, it will have a number of rooms
08:28 and individual rooms that are used for commercial sex.
08:34 So when we enter these places,
08:35 we often have to bust the front door
08:38 or we have to enter in without them knowing it
08:41 so they're not alerted to it.
08:44 We usually have a team of about 10 or 12
08:46 including a few police.
08:49 We run inside the place,
08:50 we're always looking to grab the girls
08:52 before they are hidden
08:54 or before they are forced into some hiding place.
08:57 So surprise is key?
08:59 Surprise is key, safety for ourselves,
09:03 while looking out for an escape root
09:06 in case something goes wrong
09:08 and we all are just stuck inside that place.
09:11 The girls themselves are taken by surprise.
09:15 Often times they are scared, they will cry.
09:18 There is a lot of drama that happens inside,
09:21 that the police are shouting,
09:22 the traffickers are trying to get out, escape,
09:25 you know, they're trying to jump out of some place
09:28 and then the girls themselves, you know, they're crying,
09:31 wondering what's gonna happen.
09:34 At that point, we can't say that they are happy to see us
09:37 because they don't know who we are.
09:39 Are they questioning
09:41 that you're there to help them some often times?
09:43 Yes. Okay.
09:44 But the moment that initial drama is over,
09:47 then we get some quiet time to tell them who we are,
09:52 and why we're there,
09:53 and that we really are interested
09:56 in their long term future.
09:57 So it's not about now, it's about the future,
10:01 and that we want to see them out of this life.
10:03 And many of them will breakdown and cry
10:06 and tell you the reason why they're there.
10:08 You know, they will say, we were so poor,
10:10 so naive, we didn't know, we were promised a job.
10:13 And the story is almost the same
10:16 again and again and again.
10:17 Over and over again. Yeah.
10:18 It's-- you wonder how could people be like this when--
10:22 But you'd realize that they are all from different places,
10:25 even if they were, say, from Bangladesh
10:27 and we're seeing increasing number of girls
10:29 from Bangladesh and Nepal in Bangalore.
10:31 Brought into Bangalore. Yes.
10:34 They don't know each other
10:36 and they're all recruited in the same way.
10:39 You know, somebody marries them,
10:41 somebody promises them a job,
10:42 brings them across the border, puts them on a train,
10:46 tells them they're going for a job in a massage parlor,
10:48 beauty parlor, as a housemaid,
10:51 and they end up in this building.
10:54 So the city of Bangalore,
10:55 it's an absolutely beautiful city.
10:57 It's an IT hub, it's a very,
11:00 what I noticed as a visitor anyway
11:02 coming to visit your city of Bangalore,
11:04 it's got a beautiful mix of modern,
11:07 with the IT industry,
11:08 and rich history and a lovely climate.
11:11 It's absolutely a wonderful place.
11:14 So in that city, how do you then,
11:17 before you make these raids,
11:18 how do you learn and work to find out
11:21 where these brothels are?
11:22 How do you make those inroads before you have a rescue?
11:26 We have them working to develop these contacts.
11:30 Like you said, on the surface it is a beautiful city.
11:34 We don't have a red-light district unlike,
11:37 you know, Mumbai and Calcutta, they have areas where,
11:40 you know, these girls are being taken
11:42 and where sex is offered,
11:43 but Bangalore doesn't have that.
11:46 It used to be more of a pensioners paradise
11:49 till it became an IT city.
11:51 So everything is very hidden,
11:54 which makes it more difficult for us
11:55 because we have to search, we really have to look out
11:59 for places where these girls are being hidden,
12:01 where they're brought.
12:02 So we have a team of investigators
12:06 whose job is to befriend the underworld,
12:09 you know, befriend pimps, befriend auto rickshaw drivers
12:13 who will transport these girls,
12:15 befriend people that work in the really shady hotels
12:21 where the girls are pimped often.
12:24 And we sometimes go in as customers and clients,
12:27 sometimes as pimps ourselves
12:30 to try and access the information
12:32 as to where these girls are being held.
12:34 And once we have that information
12:36 and we know for sure
12:37 that in this building trafficking is--
12:40 You know, a trafficked girl is being held
12:42 or a brothel is being run,
12:44 then we go to the police with that information.
12:46 Completely chartered out plan of rescue
12:50 including escape routes, entry,
12:53 number of people inside the building,
12:55 the number of girls,
12:57 their approximate ages, as much of--
13:00 as much information as we can.
13:02 Because before we go into the rescue,
13:05 we're not gonna get another opportunity
13:07 or the police can't go in before the rescue
13:10 because there will be an alert.
13:12 So you sort of have one chance to do it right
13:16 and because there are no second chances?
13:18 Yes. Yes.
13:21 Now as you just heard Anita share,
13:23 the problem of trafficking is rampant in India.
13:27 The dangers involved in this mission
13:29 to save the young girls from trafficking are many.
13:32 When we come back we will hear from Anita
13:34 just how Asian Aid is helping her
13:37 and her team with the rescue operations.
13:39 And we'll see how we all can play a role
13:42 in rehabilitating these girls who are rescued.
13:58 My wife Angela and I are here in Andhra Pradesh, India,
14:01 visiting some of the Asian Aid projects
14:03 to see for ourselves
14:05 how the work that is being done here is transforming lives,
14:08 especially the lives of orphaned children
14:11 and abandoned children,
14:12 children from the tribal communities.
14:15 And we've discovered that because of sponsors like you,
14:17 they now have a place that they can call home,
14:20 they have wonderful clothing, nutritious food,
14:22 and they are being prepared to propel themselves
14:26 into the future for a promising career.
14:28 But above all that, because of sponsors like you,
14:31 they now have hope, hope for a better future.
14:48 So, Anita, after you go in, you and your team,
14:52 and you actually go in on these raids yourself personally,
14:55 these girls, you work with them for little while,
14:58 then what's the next step?
14:59 How do they transition from that life
15:03 back to somewhat a regular life?
15:06 Once we finish the rescues,
15:08 we take them to the police station
15:11 for a little bit where their stories are taken,
15:14 their photos are taken,
15:16 and then we have to take them to a government shelter
15:20 according to the law.
15:22 The first place after their rescue
15:24 has to be the government shelter.
15:26 And these are basically sets of buildings with staff,
15:31 but they're not specific to trafficked victims.
15:34 So you can have abandoned girls there,
15:37 you can have a pregnant mother there,
15:40 you know, pre-marital,
15:42 you can have someone who has lost their family,
15:46 you can have somebody who's lost,
15:49 got off a train at the wrong stop,
15:51 so just a mixed group of people inside that place
15:54 and these girls are taken to that place.
15:56 Usually, we do the rescues quite late at night--
16:00 For that surprise factor. Yeah. Yes.
16:03 And so between about 2 or 3 A.M.,
16:05 we end up in this place.
16:07 So the girls are, you know, there are about three gates
16:13 before you get inside the place.
16:14 It's almost like a jail. It looks like that. It's--
16:18 Sounds intimidating. It is.
16:19 Then once there,
16:22 the girl's case has to come up for hearing
16:25 and we have to find out their backgrounds.
16:29 Many times, because it's a government run shelter,
16:33 the traffickers can end up coming right there.
16:35 Really? Yeah.
16:37 They pose as an aunt, a mother, a sister, a brother,
16:41 the only relative in that place.
16:43 And because they have so many cases
16:46 and so many people turning up, they don't check credentials.
16:52 And so they can turn up with, you know, a false document
16:57 and we have had many such ones.
16:59 And they can release the girl or they get to see the girl,
17:02 intimidate her more
17:03 or promise to get them out of that place
17:06 because by then, the girls really want
17:07 to get out of that place,
17:08 they don't speak the local language,
17:10 the food is not something that they like.
17:13 Government issued food essentially.
17:15 And then many times they have told us,
17:17 there are lice in the food or lice in the coffee.
17:19 Oh, my.
17:21 You know, yeah and the others are really mean to them
17:23 because they find out that they have been involved in sex,
17:26 commercial sex, and they label them,
17:29 the stigma of being in that place.
17:32 You know, you just want to get out.
17:34 They are desperate to get out.
17:35 Many times these girls have tried to cut their wrists
17:38 and we get a call to say,
17:40 "Please come and take the girls you rescued out of this place
17:42 because they're disturbing everybody else."
17:45 And you go there and they say
17:46 "We just want to go out of this place.
17:48 The brothel was better." You know, so harsh.
17:50 Sounds horrible. So harsh.
17:52 How many days or how much time
17:54 are they in this place generally?
17:56 Well, it can be anything
17:58 between two months to two years.
18:00 Oh, wow.
18:02 Are they cared for,
18:03 are their physical needs, I mean--
18:04 Oh, yes.
18:06 I mean, I hate to be very-- I hate to talk about it,
18:10 but the life they were living in the brothel,
18:12 they had a lot of physical injuries I assume.
18:16 Obviously, emotional and mental,
18:18 are those things addressed at all in the government home?
18:22 The government does provide a shelter, so there is food.
18:26 There is a sense of--
18:29 They have water and clothes and people talk to them,
18:33 but they're abused sometimes in different ways.
18:36 There's a lot of sexual abuse
18:37 that happens within those shelters
18:39 especially to the younger children.
18:42 We did a rescue of boys who had been trafficked
18:45 from Bihar to Bangalore for labor
18:49 and some of these boys were aged nine to twelve.
18:52 And when we visited about a week later,
18:55 a couple of them said, they didn't like
18:58 what older boys were doing to them,
19:00 which is implying sexual abuse inside a government shelter
19:04 that is meant to be a protective place.
19:07 It sounds like it's taking them from a bad situation
19:12 and putting them in a so-so situation
19:15 and in that specific case, a worse situation.
19:18 It's true.
19:19 So it doesn't sound like it's an answer,
19:21 but you also don't have a choice.
19:25 So, Anita, you are Christian,
19:29 what difference would it make to be able to take these girls
19:32 and put them in a Christian facility
19:35 where they were nurtured and cared for specifically?
19:39 Now, Jean, you are talking about a vision
19:41 that I have for this, for these girls,
19:44 every girl who is rescued.
19:46 You know, the sense of hopelessness
19:48 inside that place when we walk into those brothels
19:50 or when we go into those places
19:53 where they are being forced to hide or to overwork,
19:58 there is just a deep sense of despair
20:02 and a darkness that is so obvious to us.
20:05 And when we get them out of that place
20:07 what we want to give them to replace that
20:10 is the sense of hope that God cares about them,
20:13 that there is a future that He can build,
20:16 and that He can restore,
20:17 and that no matter what has happened to them,
20:20 they are still made in the image of God
20:22 and nobody can destroy that.
20:24 And nothing can, nothing can mar that.
20:28 But you see they've never been told that
20:31 they've been so abused inside that place
20:34 that they, they couldn't care about themselves.
20:37 So we in our home will have that opportunity
20:42 right from the start to just love on them,
20:45 to be able to give them that sense of hope
20:49 that they need not fear anymore,
20:51 they're not in a, they're not in a place
20:53 that anyone's gonna abuse them.
20:55 In fact, they're gonna receive the opposite,
20:57 that there will be a sense of freedom within that place
21:02 where they can make choices
21:03 and that those choices will be guided
21:07 by good counseling and that they will have options
21:10 whether they learn a new trade
21:12 or whether they go back to visit family.
21:15 It will all be under,
21:17 under careful observation and supervision
21:19 to ensure that the best happens for these girls.
21:23 I think part of the story that you tell
21:26 that really breaks my heart
21:28 is when you share how these girls
21:30 once they are rescued some of them,
21:33 a certain percentage of them do go back to that way of life
21:37 because of the shame, because they don't feel an option.
21:41 Have you seen the difference
21:44 that Christ makes for the girls?
21:46 Is that the difference that keeps them
21:49 from going back to their lifestyle?
21:51 I think it is the main difference, Jean.
21:54 I mean, to be able to pray with the girls
21:57 and we do pray with the girls.
21:59 You know that I told you, we get some private time
22:02 either at the police station or at the brothel
22:04 before we take them to the government shelter.
22:06 We almost always talk to them about God and pray with them
22:10 because that's the only private time
22:13 we'll get before we are under supervised visits
22:17 in the government shelter.
22:18 But if we had our home, we can pray with them every day,
22:22 we can pray with them and counsel them,
22:23 and tell them about our God who loves them,
22:26 and help them to come to terms with that.
22:28 I mean, many of them ask us,
22:30 "Why do you want to do this for us?
22:33 You know, why would you be here?"
22:34 Because I always tell them, "I'm a mother myself.
22:37 You know, I have two daughters,
22:39 I know what it feels like to be inside this place
22:43 wondering what's gonna happen next."
22:45 And they always say, "Why do you take this risk?"
22:48 And I tell them,
22:49 "It's because God has called some of us to these things
22:53 and because it's for God who took a risk for us.
22:56 I mean, that He came for us
22:58 that we might have a life that is free."
23:00 And, you know, they are so open to listening to the gospel,
23:05 to knowing, but the most important thing, Jean,
23:09 is for them to see the gospel in action
23:12 and that's what we manage to do there.
23:15 But what drives you each and every day to continue
23:19 to put your own personal life in danger?
23:22 You're on the frontlines doing this
23:24 and I imagine your husband worries.
23:27 What keeps you going to do this?
23:31 I think this, the call that God had on my life
23:34 and which I realized about 10 years ago
23:37 when I went out on my first rescue mission,
23:40 just the thought of these girls out there and that,
23:46 you know, something might happen to them,
23:47 that they may never hear about our God
23:50 who loves them.
23:52 Being an Indian women myself, a mother of daughters
23:56 just wanting to do the best that we can for these girls.
24:01 It's funny, I never, I never was a brave
24:03 or courageous person growing up.
24:05 In fact, I was very timid. I can't believe it.
24:07 Very timid, very shy.
24:08 Really? Yeah.
24:10 I hated standing up in front of anything, but--
24:13 And I still am very afraid before we go on a rescue.
24:16 Everybody knows that I have my private time,
24:19 but when we finish the prayer
24:21 before the raiding team is out of the door,
24:26 I know that God has gone before us
24:28 and He's already there.
24:29 I mean, there are times, Jean,
24:31 that we search the building for the girls
24:34 and we just don't know where they've hidden them.
24:37 And somehow God shows us where that hidden place is,
24:41 whether it's, you know, a hole in the wall
24:44 that has been sealed up
24:46 and we have to break through that
24:47 or whether it's a reception, a hotel reception desk
24:52 and you open the drawer and it's a staircase.
24:54 Really? Wow.
24:55 Into a cellar where the girls have been pushed.
24:58 It is God because, you know, none of us
25:00 have had any kind of investigative training.
25:03 And when God shows up there, we know that we keep going on.
25:08 He is going before you. Yes.
25:10 And you are trusting in Him. Yes.
25:12 Well, I have a hard time imagining you
25:14 as a timid young girl.
25:16 You're a great inspiration to myself
25:19 and many who've met you, I know you are.
25:22 Well, I just praise God
25:23 that you and Operation Child Rescue are doing
25:27 what you are doing, Anita,
25:28 that you are facing these problems,
25:30 that you're there dealing with it.
25:33 You know, it's really hard for those of us
25:36 who don't see it with our own eyes
25:38 to really comprehend the level of danger,
25:44 the horrors that these children go through,
25:46 but I just thank you for what you're doing,
25:49 for the ministry that you have.
25:51 And I'm just wondering if we can pray together?
25:53 Yes, please. Please.
25:56 Dear God in heaven,
25:57 You see what's happening in India.
26:00 You see into the lives of the young women
26:04 who are vulnerable in the rural areas.
26:06 And, Lord, You see the horrors more than we can even imagine.
26:09 But, Father, we love You and we know
26:12 that You created each of us
26:13 and that You love us each individually,
26:16 that You created each of us for a purpose.
26:18 Father, I ask that You will go with Anita and her team
26:21 as they continue to rescue these vulnerable people,
26:25 these children, these young men,
26:27 these young women from the dangers
26:29 that they find themselves in.
26:31 Father, protect them and may Your light,
26:34 Lord, change their lives for eternity.
26:38 Lord, we place Anita and her team in Your care.
26:42 We ask for Your grace
26:44 and Your hand over this process.
26:45 In Jesus name, amen. Amen.
26:48 Anita, it's always a please visiting with you.
26:50 Thank you. Thank you, Jean.
26:56 Current estimates tell us
26:57 that more than 1.2 million children
27:00 are caught up in human trafficking in India alone.
27:04 The numbers are truly staggering,
27:06 but thanks to people like Anita
27:08 and to programs like Operation Child Rescue
27:11 these young girls and boys can be rescued
27:15 and rehabilitated.
27:16 Now you and I can play a vital role
27:18 in helping Asian Aid in its rescue efforts.
27:21 We at the Voice of Prophecy have partnered
27:24 with Asian Aid to build a rehabilitation home
27:27 in Bangalore, India.
27:28 We are partnering with Anita to provide a safe place
27:32 where young girls can be given hope, healing,
27:34 and to learn new skills all in a Christian environment.
27:38 So please pray for Anita and for her team in India.
27:42 And if you would like to support
27:44 or to get more information on Operation Child Rescue
27:47 please contact Asian Aid.
27:49 Thank you for watching and God bless.