Trafficking women and children is the world's fastest-growing crime. Fuelled by money, greed, and lust, the industry is booming as it preys upon innocent girls and women, forcing them into a vicious cycle as they become a commodity — bought by the buyer and sold by the trafficker (pimp).
"Don’t say you love me. Nobody could possibly love me," reads the text sent by 14-year-old Sarah to Debbie, a SIM worker at Redlight Greenlight — a place of refuge and holistic care for sex trafficking survivors in India.
Sarah’s been at the home for three years. She’s currently the youngest, and she was stable for so long — showing no signs of trauma. Then the nightmares and panic attacks started.
With nightmares torturing her in the darkness and panic attacks holding her hostage by day, Sarah has grown resistant to the love and compassion SIM workers show her.
Prior to coming to Redlight Greenlight, all the adults she’d ever known had abused or betrayed her. When she confided in her mother about the sexual abuse, Sarah was beaten and told, “You are liar!”
Now, in her nightmares, Satan is twisting the role of SIM workers to be like every other adult in her past. Debbie doesn’t flinch at Sarah’s words. She finds them vulnerable, yet strong.
“I don’t believe God loves me, either,” Sarah continues. “He must hate me.”
Sarah’s heartfelt words fill Debbie with sadness, but at the same time, it’s a precious moment of raw honesty.Sarah opens up further about her nightmares, panic attacks, and shattered hope.
“It’s okay that you cannot believe it,” says Debbie. “It’s good that you can express things honestly. But I still have to say, you are precious; I love you and God loves you.”
When Debbie hugs her, she feels something melt away and Sarah begins sobbing.
Later in the week, Sarah attends church with Debbie. The preacher addresses two horrific news headlines prompting nationwide protests: one is a story about an 8-year-old who was kidnapped, gang raped, tortured, and killed.
The other is about a teenage girl raped by powerful men, and police who initially refused to file a case against them.When the victim protested, her father was arrested and later died in custody. The preacher calls the congregation to care for and grieve with those directly involved. He also asks them to stand up for the rights of the marginalised.
“I realise there are many girls out there who don’t have any help,” Sarah says to Debbie. “I want to help them. But right now, I still have so much pain inside and I cannot overcome the panic attacks. I feel so selfish. I feel powerless to do anything to help.”
Debbie smiles, confessing she also feels selfish and doesn’t know how to help.
“Sarah, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I want to be a social worker,” she says.
“Hold onto that vision,” says Debbie. “Right now, keep making practical decisions that can allow your dreams to come true.”
She reminds Sarah what the workers at Redlight Greenlight notice about her: When she is discouraged, she writes poems; when she feels hopeless, she turns away from harming herself, even though she has admitted considering suicide; when filled with anxiety, she talks with the home mothers.
“All these small choices you are making will lead to fulfilling your dream,” Debbie says. “And that is what you can do to help these girls right now.”
Sarah looks at Debbie and smiles. Shining in her eyes is a glimmer of hope.
Give thanks for Redlight Greenlight workers who are helping sex trafficking victims discover life and freedom in Jesus Christ.
Pray the ministry grows in its response to God’s call to stand up for those without a voice.
Pray for Sarah to know how precious she is to God.