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Christian Teen Abducted by Sex Traffickers in India Shares How God Restored Hope Amid Tragedy

( [email protected] ) Mar 13, 2018 10:29 AM EDT
A Christian teenager who was abducted by sex traffickers in India has opened up about her traumatic experience and God's healing presence in her life.
India is ranked 17th on Open Door USA's World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution. AP Photo

A Christian teenager who was abducted by sex traffickers in India has opened up about her traumatic experience and God's healing presence in her life.

As one of the few Christians in a predominantly Hindu region of India, Reena became accustomed to persecution at a young age, according to a new report from persecution watchdog Open Doors.

"Nobody wanted to play with me because they were Hindus and I wasn't," Reena, now 19, recalled. "When I didn't take part in their rituals, they would scold me for it. After school, I just came home and entertained myself. My parents explained that persecution will come when you are a Christian. And I wasn't jealous of the Hindus because Jesus gave me joy inside."

Because of their faith, her parents were forbidden to draw water from the village well: "They had to walk a few kilometers (about a mile) to get water from the river," Reena said.

As a teenager, Reena went to school in a different village and lived in a youth hostel, free of persecution. But when the family's money ran out, Reena couldn't continue school and was forced to go to work, teaching school.

There, the discrimination continued. After taking on a job as a teacher, the teen was told she would receive a salary of 1,500 rupees a month ($23.13), but received just 500 rupees ($7.71).

When the school stopped paying her altogether, Renna found another teaching job. Shortly after she began working, the school's headmaster invited the teen to a teachers meeting where he offered her some Indian sweets.

The following days, she said, were a "blur," as she was held unconscious and remembers nothing. Notes Open Doors: "That may be true, at least partially. More likely is that what happened to her was so terrible she doesn't want to share about the days she went missing. She is likely one of the millions of girls in India who are kidnapped and trafficked each year."

At one point, Reena called her parents and told them she was being held "in a terrible place." However, police refused to investigate her disappearance.

Eventually, the teen woke up in a train car and was able to escape. In the train station, the young girl - still in shock from all that she had survived - realized she was 14 hours away from her village. She recalled seeing police officers but being too weak to walk to them. Fortunately, she was able to call a friend to pick her up.

"I was so confused," Reena said. "Apparently, I asked her and her parents not to call my parents."

After a couple of days, Reena boarded a train and returned home where her parents met her and immediately took her to the hospital. Slowly, she began to realize what had happened to her and fell into a deep depression. At one point, she contemplated taking her own life.

"I had all these questions," she said. "Why did this happen? And why did the villagers target me of all people?"

With nowhere else to turn, the teen attended a Christian church service. As the pastor prayed, Reena said she began to feel her physical pain and depression lift.

"I was really touched by God," she shared. "When I came home, I was overjoyed and shared what had happened with my Hindu friends. I wanted them to come to a similar church service and also experience God's healing power in their lives."

Eventually, Reena found healing in the Psalms and Revelation 3:20: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come to Him and eat with Him, and He with me."

"I realized that if I opened the door of my heart, that Jesus would come in and dine with me," she said. "So I surrendered to Him. I came to know that it was Satan who wanted to destroy my life, but God loves me. My future is very bright. I will share the gospel with non-believers. I don't expect more problems."

Almost 46 million people are enslaved worldwide - trafficked into brothels, forced into manual labor, victims of debt bondage or even born into servitude - according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index.

India is ranked 11th on Open Door USA's World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution. Notes the outlet: "Because Hindu radicals view Christians as outsiders, they are experiencing increased persecution. These radicals are intent on cleansing the nation of both Islam and Christianity and employ violence to this end. Usually, converts to Christianity experience the worst persecution and are constantly under pressure to return to Hinduism."

Tags : India, Sex Trafficking, Christians in India, violence against Christians in India