Children for sale in Chennai

Vulnerable children need protective care – as well as an open door of opportunity for their secure future

It's a fast growing enterprise for many people in India. Selling children brings profit to traffickers, factory owners and brothels. Cruelty, torture and rape accompany this ruthless business.

To counter such abuse of vulnerable children, on-the-ground workers and people half-way around the world are partnering together.

With dedicated workers in India, Siloam Christian Ministries and Childcare Worldwide (CCW) are combating this abuse.

"One way we help children avoid being trapped in slavery is through protective hostel care," explains UK Siloam Director Richard Norton.

"Chennai is especially notorious for trafficking, including children's brothels. Our hard working partners there lovingly take care of girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. These girls benefit from protection and education to give them future security. Otherwise, they would be prey for those who entrap these vulnerable youth."

Recent news reveals that the majority of India's human trafficking victims are female and under the age of 18. One social worker reports how young girls were locked in a dungeon for weeks. Each day they were brutally raped and given very little food to eat. This broke their will so that they would not make any trouble for the brothel.

Individuals are helping to counter this evil on a one-to-one basis through Siloam child sponsorship. With four children of her own, Jean Dickens of Nottingham always wanted to sponsor a child. She has been able to sponsor a vulnerable seven year old girl named Dibeeka who came from a sad background.

From Jean's viewpoint, she sums up, "If you can encourage a child, if you can make a difference in just one person's life, it's got to be good. So many children in the world are going through bad things.

"You don't realise what sponsoring is like until you do it. I've seen Dibeeka progress. There's such a difference. Now, she feels safe. In the hostel, she knows she's in a good place and being well cared for."

Periodically, horrific weather conditions sweep through India and leave family members displaced or missing, presumed dead. This brings about yet another disaster as traffickers prey on any lost children they can abduct and sell.

Yet each person who tries to help just one child can add to an effective response. Girls who are protected by Siloam's loving family of hostel workers become part of a tidal wave of love.

Older girls who leave the hostel become successful and are able to contribute to the wellbeing of other deprived children.

This provides hope for children at risk of being sold – yet who can be offered a secure future through individuals making simple efforts together.