Ananya's Story / India
The Project Rescue outreach team first met Ananya five years ago, when she was 11. An orphan at birth; a brothel owner, seeing all the future financial potential this baby girl held, falsified the necessary documents, and Ananya was suddenly a child born in the brothels and one who belonged to the owner. Ananya was trained to go around selling clothes from brothel to brothel; all that she must have witnessed and the dangers to which she was exposed on a daily basis are probably beyond most of our imaginations. Like many in the brothels, she had never experienced freedom, or that what she was experiencing wasn’t a normal life for an 11-year-old girl. Ananya had accumulated a total of three months of schooling during her entire life.
Realizing the danger of her situation, the team pleaded with the self-appointed “mother” to release Ananya to the care of the nearest Project Rescue home. The “mother” vacillated, at times saying yes and then no, leaving the team at the mother’s mercy because without her permission, nothing could be done.
Two years ago, the ministry held a medical camp in the red light district, five hours away from the main city. One of the children who walked into the tents that day was Ananya. The team’s pediatrician saw more than 100 children that day, but her encounter with Ananya struck her more than that of any other child. She saw the pain-stricken and sorrowful face of a 13-year-old girl who had lived many tragic lives. The pediatrician cared for this child, prayed for her, and asked if she could take a picture of her. Ananya allowed it. The doctor returned to the US with Ananya’s picture and continued to pray for her. Just a few months ago, she felt the need to pray for her more fervently, even setting the timer on her phone to ring at various times throughout the day as a reminder to stop and pray. Recently, Ananya’s “mother” died in the red light district, placing this child in a much more dangerous and vulnerable situation. Sensing the immediacy of the danger, and of the next “occupation” into which this child might be forced, the team went to the local government officials and explained her situation. With the help of local officials, the Project Rescue ministry team was finally able to bring Ananya out. She is now at the academy and in a safe place that understands the tragedy of her past, but believes strongly in all the potential she holds for a bright future.