Part four in a series of posts by Bob Massey, a Los Angeles screenwriter who is currently traveling to India with a team from Ecclesia Hollywood hosted by a faith-based human rights organization whose work in Mumbai concentrates on rescuing girls from sexual slavery. + Click here to read previous posts
One of the genius moves of this anti-trafficking program in Mumbai is that they don't just bust bad guys and rescue girls from sex slavery. They spend as much effort helping those girls recover.
The girls are set up in a group home where they're cared for, educated, trained for the workplace - but primarily loved. Most of them were sold into slavery by impoverished parents. So you can imagine (actually, no you can't) some of the feelings they must deal with.
In the morning we went to meet the staff and share some prayer time with them. They start the workday as a team, reading and pondering Jesus's words about love and justice, praying, and singing. Gotta say, I've never before been in an office where that happened. You realize: these people aren't just lawyers and such; they're on an actual mission from God.
Which seems like just a bunch of words until you meet the girls. They are between 15 and 18 years old, all rescued from lives of abandonment, rape, and abuse. They look about 10 to 13. They are so cool. Hilarious, talented, sweet, goofy, curious, shy, polite, utterly enamored of Bollywood musical stars and showing us their Bollywood moves. Lucky for us we had David, our heavily tattooed co-pastor who has no shame on the dance floor. David wiggled around in waves. The girls giggled hysterically. It was a blast.
We spent the rest of our hours with them getting to know names, getting impromptu Hindi lessons and then butchering it, making weird little fuzzy muppetish critters out of glue and sticks and fuzzy colorful balls, doing conga lines, and generally being ridiculous. It was wonderful. And then we had to get back in the van to leave.
That's when it sinks in for the first time. We'd just joined a bunch of girls to horse around and be goofballs (polite, well-mannered, sweet-natured goofballs, in their case), which - and let me emphasize this point - is what little girls should get to be.
Here's one thought shared by all the men in the van: men - males - have a lot to answer for.
[Right here is the place to insert Bob's kneejerk impulse to legally mandate slow, painful castration of perpetrators of sexual crimes against girls, for which Bob happily volunteers to hold the sharp knife on every one of the bastards, twice. But then take a deep breath and replace all that with some standard Christian boilerplate about forgiveness yadda yadda, and then to go cite some scripture verse so you people at home can wrestle with the tension between justice and mercy on your own time. But Bob's not actually in the mood for grace at the moment and it'll take him a while to come around, so let's just pretend it happened so Jim Wallis doesn't come put Bob the guest blogger in a wicked headlock. Thanks.]
Okay, but, seriously: someone SOLD these girls. Maybe the parents were conned into their girls would go to the city to work as domestic help or whatever. But, people, what measures would you NOT take if guys paid to rape your daughter/sister/niece/girlfriend?