photo by Ted Wilcox

An Indian Experience (Part 3)

David Dishman

Today we visited the Freeset Global textiles factory. This business is run as a for-profit organization that employs over 200 women that were either formerly sex-slaves in Kolkata or in danger of falling into that work. By selling bags, purses and T-shirts that they sew and design on-site, they are able to provide these women with livable monthly wages, health care and, most importantly, an alternative to the sex-trade.

Similar to the daycare outreach, my fellow Cru staff predecessors have crossed paths with the Freeset ministry during previous summers here. Today we will be touring their factory, sitting in on their company-wide devotional and meeting several of the staff members.

The morning kicks off with one of these devotionals in the ground floor of the three-story building. Like the children yesterday, I am again floored by the amount of joy and contentment these women find in the Lord. I can’t imagine the struggles they have encountered in their lives, but to see them joyfully praising the Lord today is nothing short of amazing.

After their devotional, they split off to their jobs and I am given a tour of the facilities. There are two buildings, one for bag-making and the other for the T-shirts. As I am taken from room to room in the 3-story bag building the women pause from their work long enough to smile, wave and say hello. They buy their textiles pre-made and dyed, but they do all the sewing, constructing and printing. They are able to produce 350 shirts per day and between 14,000-15,000 bags per month.

After my tour, Annie Hilton, one of the founders of Freeset, spoke to our group about the sex-trade and the gravity of the entire situation begins to sink in. According to her, in the square kilometer surrounding the business is one of the busiest red light districts in the city. She tells us that while many women are kept physically locked away in buildings, others are trapped in the system because it is their only source of income. Providing alternative employment is the best way to free women from being forced into working this trade.

For the second time this week, I left feeling incredibly thankful for the goodness of my God and his mighty power to save. These women have been granted an alternative to a destructive career through Freeset, and while I’ve never dealt with sex-slavery, my Lord God granted me an alternative to death through his son Jesus Christ. I’ve known this truth for some time now, but this whole situation gave it a tangible perspective that I had never experienced before, and I am thankful for that.

Read Part 4

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