Girls face more danger of exploitation today than ever before, as a newly released report revealed that there are currently more than 650 million “child brides” in the world.
This disturbing reality was divulged in a special report by Gospel for Asia titled, “Rewriting the Tragedies of Girlhood” – awakening the world of this grim and silent tragedy when the U.N. International Day of the Girl was observed on October 11.
Stealing girls’ childhood
Across the world, millions ofyoung girls are being robbed of their childhood and forced into sex trafficking on a daily basis.
“As women's rights take center stage in the U.S. and many parts of the world, the reality for millions of girls worldwide is sexual exploitation and forced marriage before the age of 13,” GFA reported in its press release. “The horrific treatment of girls includ[es] sex trafficking, sex-selective abortions and denial of education.”
Atrocities on different continents are occasionally reported, as GFA lists below, but often, little to nothing is done to end the horrific exploitation and victimization of girls:
- “In 2014, the kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria by Boko Haram terrorists grabbed the headlines, but rampant abuse of girls across Africa and Asia continues largely under the radar.”
- “In Bangladesh, a survey of 375 sex workers revealed nearly half of them were child brides – married as young as 11, and trafficked into prostitution.”
- “In China, sex-selective abortions resulted in a national shortage of women – fueling demand for child brides and sex workers.”
- North Korean girls who escape across the border to China are forced to stay ‘invisible’ and often end up in brothels and the cybersex trade.”
- “Girls in Asia as young as nine are forced to perform sex acts in front of webcams – livestreamed to a pay-to-view global audience.”
Trapped and trafficked
GFA World founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan is committed to shining the light on a dark reality that has become a never-ending nightmare of sexual exploitation for hundreds of millions of girls worldwide.
"Globally, millions of girls – nearly double the entire U.S. population, in fact – are trapped in a web of exploitation," Yohannan stated in his nonprofit Christian mission agency’s release. "Girls living in areas of political instability, conflict or oppression are especially vulnerable to forced marriage and sex slavery."
Besides the religious persecution of millions of Christians and Muslims in China, sex trafficking in the communist regime is another major abuse.
“In China, girls are trafficked from neighboring countries – lured by the promise of jobs,” GFA noted in the release. “Victims are forced to cohabit with men who don't speak their language, kept locked in tiny rooms, and raped at will. Often, girls are beaten and drugged.”
Grim life for girls from birth
GFA mentioned how the figure of 650 million child brides estimated by UNICEF – the U.N.’s children’s agency – includes women who were forced to marry in childhood … many of whom were forced to marry at very young ages because their parents wanted boys instead of girls.
The story of Ruth – whose father became enraged when she was born a girl – was also relayed by GFA, which noted that he later told her, “You should have been a boy.”
Ruth painfully remembers her father kicking her in the face when she knelt at his feet to ask for his blessing before going to Bible college.
"While Ruth was at college, her father's heart softened, and he came to know the love of Jesus," Yohannan recounted Ruth’s story. "When she traveled home and stepped off the bus, her father ran to hug her. Change happens when people see every single girl is precious because she's created by God in His image."
GFA started its Bridge of Hope program so that tens of thousands of at-risk girls in Asia can pursue education and avoid exploitation and child marriage, such as 13-year-old Krupa.
“[When I alerted workers at Bridge of Hope, where I attended, about being forced into marriage,] they arrived at our house like angels [within minutes and intervened to stop the ceremony], Krupa told GFA.
Since then, Krupa reached her dream of becoming a teacher, and she married a husband she chose herself when she turned 20 years old.