Sold by Stepmother, Now Free: Padma's Story
Northern India — 15-year-old Padma came from a Hindu family in Northern India. After her mother died three days after giving birth to her, Padma's father struggled to take care of her. He was a taxi driver and led an impure, deceitful, dangerous life far from Christ. Though her father loved her deeply, she wasn’t comfortable with his lifestyle. Her father worshiped many different gods and goddesses. “I had no hope,” Padma said. “I could see that the worship of these gods was not bringing any good change in him and the lifestyle he was living.”
Criminal activities are common in their region and respect for women is absent. “We were used and mistreated,” she said. “I wanted a life where I was respected. I always wondered if there was any supreme power who could change my life. I had no faith in the gods my Hindu family worshiped. Once, I met a neighbor and they talked about some different God. They said He is a Redeemer and can change anyone’s life. I began to believe them, and I wanted to seek this God who could change my life.”
Several years after her mother’s death, Padma’s father remarried a woman who despised her. Padma's life turned upside down when she received the shocking news that her father had been murdered by her stepmother, who had given him poison. After her father’s death, Padma’s stepmother went to prison for a short time and was released on bond. Unfortunately, she immediately sold her into the sex trafficking trade for $3,000 so that there would be no disputes about where her father’s estate would go.
Padma told our team on one particular day, she was raped 13 times by men of all ages. “During this time of danger I could only think of that neighbor who was praying to that ‘different’ God,” she said.
Bright Hope’s Anti-Human Trafficking Team received news of Padma’s captivity and began planning for her rescue. They devised a plan to take her at a local train station. She was given a message to come out the train on the pretext of buying some food from one of the shops at the platform. Padma immediately got out of the train and quickly mixed in with the busy crowd at the platform, heading straight to our team. She was quickly and discreetly put inside a car that had been waiting. She was taken to Bright Hope’s Safe House in September 2012.
When Padma stepped into the Safe House, she was very ill suffering from tuberculosis, swelling of the brain, and struggling with side effects of the medicine. Despite her fragile state, she had a passion and drive to learn. She showed interest in tailoring and in the last six months has excelled tremendously in this trade.
Padma is currently taking an advanced course in tailoring, decorative flower-making, and painting. She will begin her tenth year in high school soon.
Bright Hope’s Anti-Human Trafficking Team reports that Padma is strongly living her life and moving ahead by faith, but also ask for her wellbeing and continued healing for her heart and body. She has accepted Christ and it is apparent her life.
“I know now that this ‘different God’ I talked about so long ago has worked in my life. I am saved, my soul is saved. I believe in the Living God, my Redeemer Jesus Christ. When I first read Psalm 91, I knew that the Lord is my Rock and Redeemer,” Padma said with joy and Hope.