Set Free’s Slavery Prevention Mission
It’s been a year unlike any other – for all of us. We’ve seen COVID-19 present many challenges throughout this year, and in the midst of facing those problems, our team discovered an opportunity to address the threat of child enslavement at the source and work to prevent slavery all together. Based on our years of ministry, we knew that 71% of the children our partners rescued were enslaved because of unfair loans given to their Untouchable families. The number of these loans increased greatly during the pandemic because of the increased price of goods and economic shut-down.
Our network of partners and pastors have been educating families across India about these loans and their potential danger as they continued their evangelical work. Families are informed of the real terms of their agreement and how their inability to repay the loan would result in their child being sent away – trapped in the bond of slavery. But we knew education alone wasn’t enough to address the problem.
In response to this, Set Free has created a model to repay loans directly to the loan agents, receive confirmation that they are paid in full, and eliminate the opportunity to claim children as payment. Families repay Set Free at terms they can afford or pay in the equivalent of firewood or rice – to be used to care for children we have previously rescued from slavery. Cash repayments are put back into the program to pay off loans for additional families. It is our goal for this program to become self-funding once we reach a level of monthly loan repayments sufficient to support this need.
Slavery prevention has become the first step in our plan to provide freedom through Christ. It’s our first goal to prevent a child from ever experiencing the horrors of slavery. If we can’t stop it from happening, we rescue with the intention of reuniting them with their families, if we can’t do that we care for them and equip them for a bright future.
Here is a glimpse at how the Slavery Prevention Mission saved Rhasimi and Vharsha from becoming slaves:
“When our parents were approached by an agent who offered a loan in the amount of $68, our parents took out two so that they could keep feeding both of us. Our parents couldn’t read the terms of the loan, but they decided to trust the man. We are so thankful that a partner pastor and his team came to our village and informed our parents about the real deal they agreed to – that we would be taken in exchange for the money borrowed.
Instead, the pastors made sure we stayed at home safe and sound with our family. They saved us from becoming slaves. My family wept for what almost was and for the other children that haven’t been so fortunate. We are so thankful that we are still free.” – Rhasimi and Vharsha
To continue to learn more about how slavery prevention fits into our mission to provide freedom through Christ by also rescuing children, reuniting them when possible, caring for them when it’s not, and equipping them for the future God created them for check it out here.