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Love your neighbor: the single mom

  • February 02, 2020
Kelsey Campbell
Kelsey Campbell

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Imagine a single mother moves in next door to you and your family.

Her car is rarely there because she’s always at work — a job that completely drains her, but it pays the bills. You watch her son get off the school bus every day with your own kids. You wonder if he’ll have a healthy dinner at home by himself tonight.

You know that if the mom just had a better job, she could spend more time with her son.

You really want to help them.

Now, what if that mother wasn’t your next-door neighbor but lived on the other side of the world?

Every day in India’s Banchara community, young girls become unexpected single mothers — not by choice but rather because it’s a common result of their profession. These girls, some as young as 12 years old, are sex workers.

It’s part of a cultural tradition that dictates the oldest daughter in every family must enter the sex industry as a way to earn money to provide dowries for her brothers so they can marry. This is a debt she could spend her entire life paying off.

This isn’t the future these girls wanted, but most have little to no education, so they have no other options.

Unfortunately, the burden will only grow as each girl has children of her own — children who are a product of her daily life as a sex worker. She will have to provide for them as well as carry the financial responsibility for her brothers.

This is the case for Diya, who at age 18, has already been working in the sex industry for six years. She became a mom at 14 when she had her son, Reshi. We’ve changed their names to protect their privacy.

Unfortunately, Diya will have to stay in the sex industry for most of her life. She has four brothers, and it will take her at least 40 years to pay off four dowries.

By the time she’s done, her son will have seen clients come and go from his home, abusing his mother, for years. After being exposed to this culture as normal for so long, Reshi is more likely to become an abuser himself or force his own daughters in the Banchara community’s traditional sex industry someday.

Meanwhile, Diya will be left riddled with sexually transmitted diseases and probably exposed to HIV. She’ll most likely live out the rest of her days in agony.

But this situation isn’t hopeless. You can help a girl like Diya before she is a mother … before her body is worn-out from abuse … before she is broken from despair.

The best way for these girls to escape the sex industry is through education. When girls in the Banchara community and others, like those trapped in Thailand’s red-light districts, have access to schooling, they can pursue the jobs they’ve always dreamed of.

And YOU can be the one to get a girl started down that path.

For just $50, you will help introduce one girl to freedom by providing her with essentials like a safe place to live, education or vocational training, counseling, and more.

You can show her that life doesn’t have to be ugly and painful. She can receive an education, find a good job, and take care of her family — all without compromising her dignity. And she’ll avoid early pregnancies and STDs.

She won’t have to become a single mom while she’s still a child herself.

This February, as we prepare to celebrate the season of love, will you love your neighbor on the other side of the world? A Banchara girl in India or a young woman in Thailand’s red-light district is waiting for help. You can help give her a different future … one with choices.

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