Misery is the demon of Garstin Bastion Road in New Delhi’s red light district. He rules over the residents and spreads a stench of hopelessness in every nook and cranny. This stretch of hell is home to many children, too.
Many of the 4,000 prostitutes on Garstin Bastion Road (GB Road) are trafficked from rural villages and now held as indentured servants or slaves. Their children live in the brothels, and are often given alcohol to keep them quiet while they work. When girls are old enough—or not old enough, as is often the case—they, too, enter into a life of prostitution.
Preethi is 15 years old and desperate to escape from the brothels. She was born to a sex worker on G.B. road, who committed suicide when Preethi was only three. She was handed over to her grandmother, who placed her in a hostel. When Preethi was nine, her aunt, a pimp, took her back to the brothel and forced her to be a maid. She was abused and tortured at the brothel.
Last month, the orphanage where our J127 Salvation Club is held, hosted mothers from the brothel. Preethi attended, too. Auntie Bela, the leader of the Club said:
She instantly liked the home. She asked her aunt to let her stay instead of returning to the brothel. She took it upon herself to go to the authorities and beg to study and live at our place. She inquired as to whether she could be given to the orphanage. She pleaded to stay. She begged for the authorities to redeem her from slavery. Sadly we had no standing or authority, and Preethi returned to the brothel. We kept her in our daily prayers.
Then, one morning, she showed up at the orphanage’s door with her grandmother. When the Auntie of the J127 Club asked her about her life, Preethi said with tears in her eyes,
“Finally I have come out of that hell. Please don’t send me back even if they ask you to take me home.”
Pimps do not give up their property easily. Children such as Preethi are sold for about $250 U.S. dollars—a fortune for the poor and working class. It is likely her aunt will try to reclaim her.
Three other girls, Nina (age 7), Rama (age 5), and Bimala (age 3), arrived at the orphanage, weak, malnourished, and addicted to alcohol. As is common in brothels, sex workers and pimps feed children alcohol or drugs mixed with soda so they sleep while their mothers work. This is the case with the sisters.
Malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, addiction, shame, and unspeakable trauma once stalked the 29 girls involved in the Salvation Club. In the absence of whole life discipleship, their future would still remain fraught with uncertainty. It’s true they now eat regularly, receive education, and are kept relatively safe in the orphanage, but generational patterns, fractured relationships, and unhealed spiritual and emotional wounds would keep them bound.
Our work through J127 Clubs is crucial. Kids reconcile the past, learn to thrive in the present, and prepare for the future. Through interactive, child-centered lessons they learn about honoring their bodies, diseases such as HIV/AIDS, grief, substance abuse, spotting traffickers, pain and death, courage, forgiveness, self-esteem, and most of all, about God the Father’s unchanging, fierce love for them.
Please pray for these children’s healing. Ask the Lord to protect those such as Preethi. Our prayer is that brave women will be birthed from the Salvation Club and bring light to G.B. Road, and rescue those left behind.
(The featured picture up top includes a portion of Salvation Club participants. This is a brand new Club, so hearts have yet to be transformed. You can see a hardness in many of their faces. As we’ve seen with other J127 Clubs, the countenance of children dramatically changes in just a short period of time.)
Update: In 2018, David C Cook transferred oversight of the J127 clubs to an in-country partner which continues to shepherd and grow this program. By supporting David C Cook’s Life on Life curriculum, you will be helping support this program as well.