REDEEMED!

8 May

Ghanawoman2“It was raining the evening I met Annabelle,” Chris Insaidoo of OM Ghana told me. “She approached my car and asked, ‘Do you want me for the night?’

“Why are you doing this to yourself, my sister?” I asked, looking into the girl’s dark eyes. “You have a bright future. Why must you be here this night, in this rain, selling your body?”

“‘It’s a long story, sir,’ she whispered, her eyes overflowing with tears. ‘Sorry, I cannot say anything more. They are watching me.’

“I gave the girl my phone number and told her to call. That was the beginning of what led to the rescue of some 46 sex slaves from Nigeria, in October 2012.”

Captured

Nigeria’s organised crime rings have created a multi-billion Euro human trafficking network in Africa and overseas. The young women that Chris learned about, all between the ages of 17 and 25, had been taken to a “guesthouse” in the unofficial red light district of Kumasi, Ghana, with the promise of jobs. Once they arrived the girls were informed they would be working as prostitutes. They could only buy their freedom by paying off the equivalent of 1,400 Euros.

Often the women were paid as little as two Euros for their services, and not infrequently they were raped or else robbed. One girl named Angela later told Chris that she sometimes had to sleep with up to 12 men each night to make the required amount to cover food and rent. “You can’t fall sick and it was taboo to get pregnant,” she added. “Our madams would beat you mercilessly and acquire a concoction for you to drink. Three days after the abortion, you needed to be back in business.”

Child Slaves

Chris Insaidoo was first compelled to take action against trafficking after learning the plight of hundreds of boys and girls who are taken from poor areas of northern Ghana and forced into slave labour. Last year alone, the OM Ghana team were able to send 150 rescued children or at risk of trafficking to school.

Gathering information about trafficked Nigerian girls was risky business, particularly as the team observed some of the local police cooperating with traffickers. “We went to the police commander,” states Chris, “and he directed us to the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ashanti Regional Police who initiated a raid on the brothel. Four traffickers were arrested and 46 girls set free.”

Spiritual and Physical Needs

As Chris explained to me, however, freed victims often have no place to go. “In order to keep their power over victims, traffickers sometimes leak information to the girls’ families that they have become prostitutes, so they can’t go home again. Or witchcraft ceremonies are performed to convince girls that a family member will go mad or die if they try to escape.

“So,” he says, “we have to run deliverance sessions. It’s hard work, but people who are rescued will go back to slavery without Christ. You must meet both spiritual and physical needs.”

OM Ghana has set up a small sewing centre where women make school uniforms, which helps both the women and children. Freedom Climb* money buys the fabric. Freedom Climb and OM UK are also helping to fund a new vocational skill development programme during the next year for between 20 and 25 girls, who will also be grounded in their faith.

While we can rejoice at the redemption of the young women and children who have been set free, the reality is that millions of others remain prisoners of the powerful. Our work, worldwide, has just begun.

 

 *See http://www.thefreedomclimb.net/

 

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