How One Artisan Shop Is Working To End Sex Slavery In India (And How You Can Help)

By Rebecca Johnson

Do you know the value of a woman’s body in India? About $2.00.

Each day 200 girls and women are sold or forced into the country’s commercial sex industry. The average age is just nine years old when it comes to sex slavery in India. These are the statistics that broke the heart of Vicki Moore, a woman from Gainesville, Georgia, and propelled her to start Rahab’s Rope, a non profit Christian organization dedicated to helping these used and abused young girls and women.

What started as a Christmas outreach to about 100 women in 2004 has grown into a program working with thousands of children, young girls and women across four cities in India. Through the efforts of Rahab’s Rope and their volunteers on the ground, they bring hope and opportunity to girls and women from the Red Light districts of Mumbai to the slums of Bangalore.

Do you know the value of a woman’s body is in India? About $2.00, with the average age of a sex… Click To Tweet
sex slavery in india

Vicki Moore in India

What’s Being Done To Help

Maybe it’s just sitting and talking with a girl in between customers on the steps outside a brothel, or sharing a bottle of sparkly pink nail polish, or offering a bottle of water. For women treated as outcasts, the offer of friendship is the first step in helping them believe in the possibilities of a different way of life.

With the help of partnering organizations, women are rescued from brothels, young girls are educated about sex trafficking and programs are put in place to help them with every facet of rehabilitation. Preschools are started so children don’t have to accompany their mothers to “work,” but instead are cared for, given nutritious food, educated and kept safe. For those ladies who age out of prostitution, escape or are rescued, aftercare programs offer women safety, education, life skills training, and counseling helping them eventually re-enter society in a healthy and positive way.

For Indian #women treated as outcasts, the offer of friendship is the first step in helping them… Click To Tweet

sex slavery in india

Sold, Tricked & Abandoned

Like Piya and Rhadika, two women Rahab’s Rope has worked with, women are often sold into sex slavery by families or relatives. Sometimes girls are lured to a big city with a promise of a good job, only to be sold to a brothel. Rhadika became a prostitute after her husband of only a few years grew tired of her and sold her into the sex trade. Ayeshia was 12 when she married an older man and moved far away, only to be left at the home of a madam. Widows are vulnerable to traffickers as they have virtually no standing in society and no way to support themselves.

Poverty, natural disasters, the caste system and lack of education make India a rich breeding ground for sex slavery. Abandoned and alone these women are isolated and ostracized by the community.

Like Piya and Rhadika, two Indian #women Rahab’s Rope has worked with, women are often sold into… Click To Tweet

sex slavery in india

Needles, Yarn, Beads & Sewing Machines

Part of successfully escaping the bonds of the sex trade is helping victims develop economic independence. Rahab’s Rope has developed vocational training programs, teaching marketable skills like sewing, embroidery, jewelry-making and crocheting, and women are paid for each salable item they make. Simple tools like crochet hooks, yarn, beads and sewing machines are tools women use to build a better life.

With the help of volunteers who offer their skills in fashion design, marketing and textile arts, Rahab’s Rope teaches these ladies how to make products they can sell for what they call “good” money. Once sex workers, now they earn an income in a safety, healthier and more self-reliant manner making bracelets. What this good money represents to a former worker from the Red Light District is dignity. The show of pride and self-respect is evident in their smiles.

What this good money represents to a former worker from the Red Light District is dignity. The… Click To Tweet

sex slavery in india

Back In Georgia…

When she is not in India, Vicki is busy raising funds and raising awareness. Rahab’s Rope retail store in Georgia sells items the ladies in the aftercare program have made, along with many other products from around the world sourced by Fair Trade vendors.

The Hope Necklace, their signature jewelry item, perfectly depicts the desperate need women caught in the commercial sex trade industry have; hope for a way out and a new way of life. From pearl jewelry, beaded bracelets of semi-precious stones, one of a kind earrings, hand woven scarves, crocheted headbands to recycled flour sack purses, products from around the world fill the store. Each purchase helps to fight sex trafficking, as half of Rahab’s Rope budget comes from the store’s profits, with generous donations making up the balance.

Vicki’s efforts to bring awareness about commercial sex trafficking in India run the gamut from talking with customers in the store, explaining the vision and sharing stories of women they have helped and the plight of those still trapped in the industry. She speaks at conferences, churches and events nationwide. In 2014 Vicki was invited to be a delegate to the United Nations for the 57th session on the Commission on the Status of Women.

Their signature #jewelry item perfectly depicts the desperate need women caught in the #sextrade… Click To Tweet

sex slavery in india

Christmas 2015

Just over 10 years ago Rahab’s Rope held its first Christmas outreach to 100 women in Bangalore. This year 1,400 women and children in Bangalore, Mumbai, Goa and Dehli heard the Christmas message and were touched by the efforts of Rahab’s Rope. People in slum areas came into the streets to watch children putting on plays and sing about Christmas. Women from the Red Light districts in Mumbai were bused to a hall and treated to a catered dinner and a new dress. Children received tote bags of school supplies and goodies. Parties were planned for women in aftercare facilities. Vicki best describes the expression in the children and women’s faces as “joy that is so rare as someone expresses love to them.”

For more information about Rahab’s Rope, ordering products or getting involved please go to www.rahabsrope.com.

The facial expressions of the #children and #women can best be described as “#joy that is so… Click To Tweet

Photos are courtesy of Rahab’s Rope. Featured image courtesy of paul prescott/Shutterstock

rebecca

About Rebecca Johnson

Based in Belize, Rebecca Johnson is a travel journalist and amateur photographer specializing in stylized fine art photography. She’s lived in various cities throughout the US and traveled to countries as varied as Russia and Iraq. She is busy at work creating her blog which besides travel posts and photos will highlight the intersection of travel and charity work.

Recommended:

Responsible Morocco: Supporting The Women Who Give Us Argan Oil [Blog Inspiration]

Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor by Katariina PhD Rosenblatt [Important Reads]

Captive No More: True Stories of Rescued Trafficked Victims and the Heroes who brought them to Freedom by Kimberly Rae [Important Reads]

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Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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