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A triumph of 'Prayer and Action,' nuns rescue women and children from slavery in India

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/4/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Unsatisfied with local response, nuns and priests take matters into their own hands, rescue 200 women.

Catholic nuns and priests have collaborated to save as many as 200 female workers being held as slave laborers in an Indian fish factory. The rescue took courage and coordination and police say that have filed charges against those responsible.

Children are common victims of trafficking, often employed as slave labor in factory operations.

Children are common victims of trafficking, often employed as slave labor in factory operations.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
8/4/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: India, Mumbai, rescue, human trafficking


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Indian news media are reporting the arrest of four managers of a fish processing plant in Mumbai, India. The managers were charged with trafficking after police discovered they had enslaved 200 women, including 97 girls under the age of 14.

What is remarkable about the rescue operation is that it was led by a group of nuns and priests who discovered the operation following a tip from a member of the public.

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According to reports, Bethany Sister, Violet working in a Mumbai suburb, was told by another sister, Holy Spirit Sister Julie of Streevani, that nine girls were being worked against their will at a local fish processing factory and that they were not receiving their wages. Sister Julie, who works to emancipate others, teamed with Sister Violet to get help for the victims.

The community Sister Violet belongs to contacted several private agencies to see if they could help and they finally found help from a Fransalian priest who had the cell phone number for one of the women working in the factory. Another Jesuit priest, James Mascaarenhas, actually managed to get the women inside the factory in touch with a local aid organization, but he was unsatisfied with the likelihood that the organization would be able to save the women.

Worried that local organizations would not save the women, the priest and nuns then visited the factory in disguise, but they were kept out by security. They also avoided going to the police because the police would simply notify the management and the victims would not be saved.

Rescuing the women and girls would not be easy, especially since they were transported to various places each night to sleep, then brought back to the factory in the morning. There was no easy way to rescue all the victims at once.

Eventually, intervention came from an aid organization previously contacted. The Indian Rescue Mission had worked quietly to find sympathetic authorities that would take action. The authorities planned and executed a careful raid on the facility, arresting four managers and freeing 200 women, many of who were minors.

Several of the women were paid what was due to them while children were sent to homes where their welfare would be looked after. Police filed charges against the managers.

The success of the raid would not have been possible without the persistence of the sisters and priests and their prayers and actions. Certainly, the authorities alone were insufficient. It is another example of the unique approach, which combines both 'Prayer and Action' to achieve success where before none seemed possible.

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