Diary of a rescue
Intervening on behalf of those lured into slavery isn't all about infiltrating brothels and kicking down doors in police raids. Rescue is perhaps more bureaucracy than action and for every person set free there is a great deal of behind-the-scenes coordination, research, and preparation. Here's an office-eye-view of one rescue.
The staff who will soon gather around this table work for an NGO that secures justice for vulnerable groups including the poor living in urban slums, bond slaves and sex slaves.
But what makes JVI unique is its chameleon-esque adaptability. JVI teams survey the needs of a particular city and seek to help where nothing currently exists, partnering with a wide variety of other organizations.
In one city, they provide legal support and representation for men who are destined for life in prison without ever going to trial. In another, they help provide freedom-producing work to victims of commercial exploitation. And in yet another city, they conduct a legal aid program for residents of a large slum.
SIM South Asia is a proud JVI partner.
A staff member sings along during morning devotions and worship. Every day at JVI begins with the gathering to worship and pray to the God who summons them to work on behalf of justice.
Staff members pray with urgency and humility about the issues they'll face that day and for the lingering memories of past cases.
The staff gets information about 200 or more bond slaves needing to be rescued. They discuss the logistics in a crisis meeting and then decide on which of their many contacts will best help move the rescue forward.
Since JVI partners with several organizations, they can assess needs and then access the most appropriate care. A broad network means fewer limitations, means better outcomes.
Coordinating a single rescue requires participation from everyone on the team - making phone calls with local law enforcement, support agencies, and those who'll be receiving survivors for aftercare.
The 2014 Global Slavery Index (GSI) found that there are nearly 36 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. South Asia alone holds half of this number.
A staff member making the 500 or so copies of legal paperwork that will be needed for the rescue of bond slaves. The task of freeing slaves and helping them remain free involves overwhelming amounts of paperwork.
Elsewhere, research consultants comb through newspapers, searching for news of human trafficking. An extensive catalog of information and research allows JVI's staff to stay aware of needs in their city.
Out to Rescue
With a rescue plan in place and the office staff preparing the papers necessary to back up their work, the rescue team hurries to leave. Even though they hope to rescue more than 200 bond slaves this time, the numbers of those still enslaved are much larger. It can begin to seem nearly impossible to make a real difference.
The Endless Rush
A staff member rushes out to join the rescue.
The intense nature of this work can be exhausting and the seemingly endless reports of slavery and exploitation overwhelming. Staff find energy to continue in knowing they're part of a greater plan and with God, they continue to reach out and loose as many chains as they can. Today, 200 bonded slaves will go free.