Anti-Human Trafficking

Many of the poorest people in India find themselves at risk of exploitation, including trafficking and ritualized sex work.

We work both to prevent individuals from experiencing exploitation and to restore God-given dignity and freedom to those already victimized.

We work extensively with those from economically weaker sections of the community, notably with girls and women forced into ritualized sex work, especially in southern India. Many are dedicated into the practice at a young age, being forced to offer sexual favors once they reach puberty. They live in poverty, earning paltry amounts, often begging to supplement their income.

Our key strategies include training community workers (many of whom have been victims of trafficking themselves) to raise awareness of the problem so families don’t fall prey to the tricks of the traffickers.

We also provide care for victims on a long-term basis: shelter, counseling, job skills training, and more. Our medical clinics offer healthcare for women and girls impacted by the ritualized sex work system — including monthly medical camps designed to identify medical problems early. Community health workers are specially trained to work with these women and their communities.

Government bodies in India have recognized and applauded our efforts to rescue vulnerable women and girls and oppose human trafficking.

Villages reached by our anti-human trafficking efforts

People treated through our anti-trafficking health work

Victims of trafficking or vulnerable girls in our shelter homes

Children formerly at risk for ritualized sex work or other trafficking now placed in our schools

Nagamma’s Story

Her family was terribly poor, yet her situation was better than most: her parents managed to keep her in school. But her father was elderly, her mother was ill — and when Nagamma was 13 years old, her father decided it would be best to sell her into ritualized sex work. “I didn’t understand what was going on,” Nagamma remembers. The shock — the horror — she suffered, beginning that day, can hardly be imagined. Night after night of dreadful abuse. Because she was marked out as a sex worker, she was even sexually assaulted on secluded roads.

One man told Nagamma he was in love with her; she bore him two children. But then he abandoned her for another girl.

Any hope of a good life for Nagamma or for her children was shattered. Her spirit was broken. Even if she fled, she had no way to make a living, no way to support her children. But after seven long years of agony, when Nagamma was 20 years old, one of our Good Shepherd workers reached out to her and showed her a way out. We provided life-transforming intervention for her, including advocacy, accountability, counseling, intensive skills development and more. We even arranged to help her start a business of her own. Today, Nagamma is a self-sufficient mother and small business owner, operating a successful tea kiosk.