Children at Risk

Abused, Sold, then Abandoned—
(all by the age of Four)

Rohit, abandoned son of a prostitue in India

Of the 19 boys in the room, Rohit was among the youngest, at just five years old.  For our benefit, he bravely stood up and shared with us his story of life as the son of a prostitute.  “My mother's name is Shanti,” he began. “She wanted a daughter, not a son.  But unfortunately, I was born” (his exact words). 

The reason for preferring a baby girl, we soon learned, is that because in the sex trade, girl babies grow up to become sex workers (wage earners) but the demand for boys just isn't there.  So the boys are often abandoned, while girls are held back for their earnings potential.  Life in the sex industry...

But Rohit's sad tale was just beginning.  “I used to cry for hunger,” he said.   In response, his cruel parents burned the toddler's back with the glowing ends of their cigarette butts.  (We were shown the many burn scars on Rohit's back).  I could not restrain a gasp.

 

When he was just one year old, Rohit was actually sold to the maid servant, Ambika, that cared for him while his mother was earning  her keep at the brothel.  For several years, life improved.  But then Ambika was severely burned and she could no longer care for Rohit.  That's when she took him to the Living Hope Center.   Twenty children live here, all of them the product of prostitutes.  Another 120 kids—all of them children of prostitutes—are in daycare at the Center, which is run by a headmaster who was trained at an Awana International conference.

By any standard, it's an extraordinarily black canvas on which to paint a life story.   But don't look for long faces at the Living Hope Center.  That's because these kids, who by any other measuring stick would be children at risk, truly have “living hope.”   They know Jesus, the very Author of hope.

The whole story is laced with irony.  When their natural families abandoned these children, they were taken into the family of God.  In the middle of a neighborhood that epitomizes moral filth, the Living Hope Center is there presenting the white righteousness of Jesus Himself.  Only He could paint such a bright picture in such a dark place.   

– Jon Gauger
from Nagpur, India

 

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