Friday, March 20, 2009

STOP 1: SOLD

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10:53 PM
Patricia McCormick, author of Sold, opened the conference on a great note. Her award-winning book is a fictional account of a 13-year old girl from India sold in prostitution. I have not yet read this book, but after hearing Patricia's story, I will be. She didn't spend a lot of time recalling parts of the book, but instead took the time to take on her journey of writing it. She traveled to Nepal and India to see firsthand the trauma this victims were facing. She discovered Nepal is more susceptible to victimization because of their lack of communication with the outside world. It is a very remote country. The majority of women are illiterate and have no value in their world. If a woman's husband dies, she loses her home and risks being displaced. Families live so close to the poverty line that one bad harvest could mean they are no longer able to feed their families. This is why girls are being sent away by their own families. They believe they are giving their child a better life in the big city, a chance to earn a living, but in reality they are lost and confused and often manipulated. When a child goes missing in Nepal, there are no Amber alerts and pictures don't appear on milk cartons. It's just another day.

Patricia also spent some time in Calcutta, India. There are 13 million people in Calcutta and 250,000 are prostitutes. There are brothels on every street corner and in every alley. Many of the women working in these brothels have children. These women are still forced to work as prostitutes whether they have a child or not. The children are often giving sleeping drugs which allows them to sleep under their mother's bed while she works. As a result, children ages 2 and 3 years are old are drug dependent. Women in this culture are viewed as possessions. One man sold his fiancee because he wanted a new motorcycle. He had one possession and wanted a different one. To him it was a simple transaction. To us, it's heartbreaking.

Patricia's photos spoke loudly of her time in Nepal and India, and I'm sure her book does the same. I am looking forward to reading it!

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!

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