Young girls from a majority Christian community in Punjab, Pakistan were discovered to be repeatedly sold off into sex trafficking in China. These girls, who are from extremely poor Christian families, are sold with dreams of marrying some rich businessmen in China, but instead are forced into sex slavery.
In one example, Natasha Masih, was given to a Chinese man by her parents in Pakistan. The man paid her bride price which is a cultural payment for marriage in exchange for pledging to take care of their daughter as she performs her role as his wife. In China, however, Natasha reported that she was kept in a hotel in a very remote location in China where she was forced to meet with several men.
“I bought you in Pakistan,” she said her husband told her. “You belong to me. You are my property.”
In her initial interactions with her mother, the nineteen-year-old girl could not fully explain what was happening to her, completely traumatized by the turn of events. However, she finally broke down and narrated the entire situation to her mother. After her mother heard this, she reached out to her most supportive community in Pakistan – a small evangelical church in a slum in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad. The group was able to put together a successful plan to rescue Natasha from the Chinese hotel which was 1,100 miles away.
Unfortunately, Natasha is only one of hundreds of girls who experience this transnational trade from Pakistan to China. The problem is that these girls come from severely poor Christian communities and their parents are simply looking for a better life for their children. They are completely blindsided and assume their daughters are leaving Pakistan for a better life.
Pakistan is a nation that deeply discriminates against Christians – they are considered second class citizens in many ways and disadvantaged in terms of job opportunities and forms of advancement. The reality of sex trafficking in Christian communities has raised some alarm for Pakistani officials, however, the government is doing all it can to keep the situation away from big media houses in order to maintain their economic relationship with China.
Date published: 04/07/2019
Feature image: Pakistani Christian students pray as they attend a memorial service for victims of the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, at Fatima Church in Islamabad on April 25. (Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images)
Article source: www.persecution.org