Just because an individual has a thought, doesn’t mean the thought is true. Hence cultivating a healthy thought process is important. I have been trying to intentionally think only of those things that are honourable, true, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and praiseworthy. This has always helped me shift my perspective when the going got tough or when the responsibility seemed too heavy.

Last month like every month brought its own challenges and achievements. I reflect on each region’s challenges and achievements and feel blessed to be a part of this amazing journey. I invite you to walk with me as I recount our journey in the last month, the stars of these stories and each of your contributions in making their stardom a reality.

We are fighting for a cross border trafficking victim who was arrested (as a perpetrator) under the Foreigner’s Act and Trafficking Act, even though there was no victim named in the chargesheet! I learned that there are many such victims in prison when they should be in shelter homes being counselled, being helped to deal with their trauma and reunited with their families.

We were looking for a young woman from Bangladesh whose family contacted a partner NGO telling them about her plight. They contacted us. Following several failed rescue attempts, we finally got to know that she was put on a train to Kolkata with a handler. Like an action packed movie, our staff went on express mode and she was rescued in Kolkata, despite us not knowing which train she was on. I think of this young girl’s joy when she is reunited with her family.

Then there was another child we had rescued in March. Despite us submitting a report that the parents were the ones who sold her, she was released back to them. We got to know last month that she was sold again and was being sexually exploited in a small town in Rajasthan. Our team acted immediately, travelled to Rajasthan, found her there and contacted law enforcement authorities. Thanks to the capable police, we were able to rescue her quickly. Once she was safe in the shelter home, she told us about a SIX year old child who was being kept in a house close to the brothel where she was rescued from. Acting on her information the Child Welfare Committee rescued the child and she is also safe now.

These stories are that of only 2 of the 12 survivors who were rescued last month.

Shanu who was trafficked when she was very young and then years later rescued from a small town near Nagpur in June 2018 had no recollection of her birth family. Last month we learned that when she was doing her biometrics for her Aadhar card, the biometrics helped link Shanu to her family. She won the battle in accepting strangers as her own and is now safe with her birth family. My smile gets wider as I imagine the look on Shanu’s face today.

A survivor who today is a volunteer gleefully shared that she got admission for her Masters in Social Work. Another survivor started her Bachelors in Social Work. When I visited the region, I met them. Both had stories to share. The latter shared excitedly about the new friends in her college, the subjects she was learning, the campus and her tuition teacher who would be helping her catch up. I am once again reminded how important education is in the re-intergration process.

We will be honouring our teachers this month. Those who taught us in school, college, trade skills etc… Our life skill education has had outcomes beyond our expectations. Education of any kind should open our eyes to see how many forces play and come together to both subjugate and liberate people. Slavery and mastery is but a result of this. As we continue to celebrate our independence, let us strive to be the force that liberates. Thank you and may we continue our education in this school called life.

Catherine Raja,
National Director