“But the LORD is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.” (Psalms 129:4)
“I trusted that man who showed compassion and promised me a bright future and good salaried job,” says Saachi*, a listener of FEBA India who was rescued from human trafficking. She lives in abject poverty with her husband and two children. Even daily necessities are difficult to come by. When this man showed up with his offer, it seemed irresistible – a chance to help her family.
She fell into the trap. When she had been out of reach for several days, her worried husband recalled the radio program he had heard, and phoned FEBA’s response line. The team immediately contacted an anti-trafficking organisation and reported the situation to the police. A search was launched and FEBA India prayed earnestly throughout. God answered. Saachi was found. She had been sold into prostitution. “I lost all my hope and thought that I [would] never be freed from that hell and never see the faces of my children [again].”
The US State Department estimates that there are more than 27 million human trafficking victims in the world at any given time. Adults and children are kidnapped, lured or sold to criminals who exploit them in one of the following forms, as identified by the UN: exploitative begging, forced marriage, forced criminality (e.g. theft syndicates), prostitution, forced labour, and organ harvesting. Traffickers prey on the vulnerable. They approach those living in poverty, like Saachi, with promises of a better life. Some of them persuade parents to hand over their children by offering to pay for the children’s education, thereby ensuring a better future. The Guardian reports that the climate disasters in West Bengal, India, have left people so destitute that they have become prime targets for traffickers.
People fall into traffickers’ traps because they are desperate and ignorant. In many parts of the world, including India and Indonesia, FEBA works to fight trafficking by educating people through their programs. In Indonesia, the team travels to small villages to educate people on danger signs to pay attention to, especially concerning their children. And their work is being rewarded – the team reports that child trafficking numbers have gone down.
FEBA India invites experts and prominent women to appear on their programs, which include dramas, interviews, talk shows and magazine-style programs. They take a holistic approach to the problem by discussing a range of topics, including poverty and unemployment, sexism, patriarchy, and trafficking itself. They also arrange trafficking awareness events, offer counselling, and follow up with listeners.
Thanks to one such program, Saachi is able to say, “Now, I am happily living with my family. My happiness and freedom are only because of the program which saved my life.”
Praise God for His intervention, and pray that He will heal Saachi and her family. Pray that He will use FEBA’s programs all over the world to prevent more trafficking, and rescue its victims.
*Name changed for safety reasons
To learn more about FEBA, please visit www.febaradio.co.za or contact our office on 012 335 5708.
Until all have heard,
Dr Jurie Vermeulen