Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | September 14, 2010

One Out of 27 Million

Statistics can easily anesthetize us to the painful realities experienced by the individual people who make up those statistics. It is one thing to hear that there are 27 million people in the world today who are held as slaves, but it’s another thing to know the story of one of those slaves. While statistics touch our heads, individual stories touch our hearts. Charts and graphs can give us insight into the magnitude of a problem, but a personal story can compel us to become a part of the solution to that problem. Millions of those held as slaves are forced to work in brothels — from our own community to the red light districts of South Asia. Millions of others are forced to work as laborers and are treated as a disposable commodity by their oppressors. This week I received e-mail from some champions of justice who rescued more than a dozen girls from a brothel and arrested several of their oppressors. Having met and learned the personal stories of so many girls and young women who reside in the aftercare homes we support on three continents, news like this encourages me. These are real human beings who have experienced unimaginable abuse and pain. Here is the story of just one of the twenty-seven million human beings who became ensnared in the world of slavery.

Ruhi grew up in a remote village in Nepal in the shadows of the Himalayas. She lived with her grandmother because she did not have a good relationship with her father or brothers. As with many poor families in South Asia, Ruhi felt the pressure to help support herself and her grandmother. So, when someone offered her work in India, she jumped at the opportunity for employment so that she could send money home to her grandmother. She traveled to India where she worked as a household maid for a while. However, within a short period, Ruhi’s employer sold her to an individual who raped her, robbed her of her dignity, and forced her to work in a well-known red-light district. For the next three years Ruhi was moved from brothel to brothel where she was repeatedly raped for profit.

Like girls trafficked from other countries, Ruhi was at a disadvantage. She did not speak or read Hindi nor was she familiar with the area where she had been forced to work. She spent her days servicing clients in brothels from which she could not escape. Finally, after three long years and through the efforts of some champions of justice, Ruhi was rescued and placed in one of the aftercare homes that we support. Initially confused and fearful that her rescuers might be people who were taking her to yet another brothel, she eventually formed a bond with the counselors and staff at the home.  It did not take long for the staff to see that Ruhi was a very determined girl with an insatiable appetite for learning. Ruhi soon started writing articles for the in-house newsletter published by the aftercare home. She also participated in programs outside the home to share her story with others and to help raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking.

This summer, Ruhi was repatriated back to Nepal. Our friends who champion justice placed her in an aftercare home in Nepal where she continues to receive the help she needs to heal from her past and to move toward a brighter future. Ruhi is enrolled in school and continues to excel in her studies. She hopes to become a social worker one day and to be an advocate for girls who are kidnapped, trafficked, and forced to work in brothels. Ruhi continues to build on the skills she was taught in our aftercare home and to heal and grow in an atmosphere of Christian love and values. Please pray that Ruhi will grow to realize her full potential in Christ. She is one of the fortunate individuals out of twenty-seven million whose story has a happy ending.


  1. O,

    Thank you for your steadfast effort to remind us of the ‘one story.’ These are real people under real oppression. After reading your blog, I prayed for Ruhi. I was moved to pray for the ‘one person in 27 million.’ It is beyond my ability to grasp the hurt and pain. I am thankful for those friends who rescued her and to be a part of a church that is engaged in ministering to her.



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