A journey to recovery
At Lighthouse Voyage, everything we do to rescue those who are exploited and to help destitute women and children comes from an understanding that these are fundamentally human issues. Human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and sexual abuse have broken hearts and impoverished God’s design for people.
Faced with this need, we have an obligation to bring value, purpose, and new life to each precious individual. To accomplish this we provide funds that help locate victims of exploitation, bringing them to new, safe housing for restoration and setting them up for brighter futures; we create new strategies for tackling the social issues inherent to trafficking; and we intervene with traffickers who also need transformation in their lives.
A step away from bondage
Practically, the first step from slavery to freedom is intervention. In India we investigate the sources of trafficking and work closely with local people to make a difference in their communities. We confront the pimps who hold people in slavery, help begin the healing process for women and children who have been abused, and gain freedom for those in bondage.
We work side-by-side with our partners on the ground by conducting investigations in the brothels, slums, and villages throughout the nation. Our joint effort brings women, children, and men in from the streets and provides them with a safe haven away from abuse and slavery. The emphasis we place on close relationships with locals also affords us many chances to address emergent issues: we sometimes receive information that helps us rescue girls who would be killed because of their gender, elders who have been put to hard labour or abandoned to die, or children who are exploited in other ways in the crowded slums.
Uncovering what was hidden
Restoration is the process of turning brokenness to wholeness and giving new life to a person. It is the reintegration of healthy relationships; it is spiritual health; and it is a process of re-learning one's value as a human being. Victims of trafficking and bondage have been stripped of the opportunity to live the life they were created for, and we believe that a sense of love, dignity, self-worth, and belonging are absolutely vital to a person's development and social well-being. We seek to provide a way for people to experience and know these truths about themselves, while being part of a community of believers who are all growing in authentic relationship with God and with others
We all need restoration in some area in our lives; whether that means we struggle with depression, anxiety, broken homes, abuse, addiction, mental illness, or anything that destroys our sense of love and worth in the eyes of God. Many of these struggles are an especially heavy reality for the marginalized groups of people experiencing trafficking, bondage, or exploitation. At Lighthouse Voyage we stand together with these people to help them work through whatever circumstances they have been through and to restore them to a right relationship with God, themselves, and others.
This organization is founded on the desire to bring light into the darkness, to pierce through the lies and chains of this broken world to restore all people to life in Christ; our restoration process begins with Christ and ends with Christ, since we believe that he is the only one who can set us free. These women and children are in need of a love and comfort they have never experienced. Therefore, as we shine a light on their God-given value to this world, we will help them understand themselves and see how loved they are by Christ and by us. The process of restoration begins the moment an individual is saved out of bondage, and we work with them through the entire process towards wholeness.
Healing with direction
We believe in healing through love. We know that love is patient and kind, that it rejoices in truth, and that it protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. We seek to demonstrate all these things to those we serve through Lighthouse Voyage, working tirelessly to provide for them the unconditional and tender love of God— something these women and children desperately need, but have been denied by their exploiters and oppressors. Our hope is that by showing them this love, we will be equipping and motivating them to show the same love to others. The primary way we can exemplify this is through the safety and security of a loving home and community.
The partners we work with in India operate 9 rehab centres that we have helped fill up this past year. There are over 800 women, children, and men in these centres, ranging from 4 to 70 years in age. Residents are provided counsellors to assist in the healing process and nurses to tend to their physical needs, which can at times be quite serious. In everything we do, however, we help these individuals through Christ. We share the Gospel in an often-novel way and show them that there is a way to be made whole.
Our goal is that these individuals would realize that they have a purpose, that they are here for a reason, and that we will walk with each of them through every step of their rehabilitation. We believe that each and every one of these people can be made new in the power of Jesus, and the rehabilitation process is integral to that end.
A step back into the community
For many of those who are rescued from a life of slavery, there is often no clear path to follow once they leave a rehabilitation centre, so we have taken steps to aid them in the transition as they start a new life of freedom. During their time at the centres we provide residents with education and skills that will increase their job opportunities and raise their quality of life. At the same time, we also try to connect them to new jobs, homes, and communities.
Many of the people we help are, sadly, quite young. In these cases we try to provide them with the education and experiences of youth that slavery made impossible. We connect with villages and communities that our partners have worked in and trust in order to find homes that will accept these marginalized children into their own families, not as projects but as their own children who deserve a loving family. We also try to help these women and girls to pursue their goals and dreams. One of our many avenues of approach in this area is post-secondary education assistance. Especially in the case of adult women, we focus on practical education and skill sets such as computer literacy, sewing, home care, or administration skills that will be helpful in establishing a new life after the rehabilitation process.
Changing hearts and minds
The best methodology for healing is prevention— it would of course be preferable if the individuals we worked with were never in bondage in the first place. One of the major reasons we rescue people the way we do is due to the high amount of corruption in the cities and villages among police officers, and so while we continue to rescue one girl at a time, we also tackle this issue by breaking the system, disrupting trafficking routes, and exposing the sources of trafficking with the help of local people. We find the traffickers, but, since we cannot always rely on the legal system, we ourselves begin the intervention process in the individual's life.
Through this process they will understand that they are creating severe pain, shame, and brokenness in real people and that we can help them change their life around. Yes, we believe that even these people need our help, need to be educated, and can be radically changed as we open their eyes to the reality of what they are doing. By doing this, we address the root problems of trafficking and hope to cause lasting change in India and the world.
Furthermore, we hope to establish a partnership with International Justice Missionaries (IJM). We love and believe in this group and the important work they conduct on the legal side of this issue, and we believe that working together with IJM will create a greater impact and meet our mutual goals more effectively. Combined with our local partnerships, we believe we can prevent trafficking and bondage through education— both general education and education on the dangers of trafficking in particular.
Educating local people about the value of women, the realities of trafficking, and the methods traffickers use is crucial to keep people from being unknowingly sold into slavery. Traffickers, for example, often find girls in villages and take them away from their families with the pretense of providing education. Familial abuse is also common. We reassure these abused individuals and hope to teach empathy and bring value into the lives of the abusers by confronting them with the consequences of their actions. We educate those most at risk and provide them with practical knowledge and life skills, such as farming techniques, financial skills, and new ways to create steady income streams.
The value of this type of education becomes especially apparent when we consider that poverty is the primary driver behind the practice of selling one's own children. The caste system further devalues women to the point where many are subject to hard labour, sold into the sex trade, or outright killed because of their gender. We believe our practical approach provides an additional level of security for victims of trafficking as they reintegrate into society.
Create, express, and uplift
Art is an incredible expressive force. It captures our imagination, rouses our passion, and it enlightens and illuminates, revealing something perhaps inexpressible by other means. There is such a high value in art, we believe, because God is the grand Artist and we are all in equal part masterpieces in His image and sub-creators along with Him. Our art matters because of whose art we are and who we make our art for. We also hope that all of us, as artists, believe that our gifts and talents can make a real impact as we join in God's redemptive plan to make all things beautifully new.
The promotion and uplifting of Art is one of the main ways by which we raise our operating funds. We believe in the effectiveness of Art as a means of communicating truth and enacting social change. Because it gives voice to that which is deeper than words, we also believe Art is an underrated tool for healing. Visual artists, photographers, musicians, and writers all come alongside us in this. Together we raise funds, spread awareness, and educate communities in order to rescue and change the lives impacted by human trafficking.
We are continually looking for Artists to come on board with us to make a difference. If that is you, please fill in this form!
One of the greatest weapons in our arsenal in the fight against human trafficking is prayer. We have been part of some incredibly uplifting stories through the power of prayer, and we truly believe that is is utterly essential to our work. We ask that you join us in prayer or even consider starting a prayer group to support our mission, and have listed here some things you can pray for.
1. Those who are not yet rescued from bondage
2. Those who are rescued and face the long journey of recovery and rehabilitation
3. Children who are suffering trauma
4. Women and children who are going through detox
5. Our partner organizations in India
6. All the workers and volunteers, without whom our rehab centres would be unable to do provide as they do now
7. For new avenues to open for Lighthouse Voyage For the Government of India
8. Families enduring separation, especially parents who are forced to sell their children
9. For traffickers and pimps to see the truth and experience transformation
10. For the Lighthouse Voyage team as we work to impact the lives of women, children, and men— victims and perpetrators alike
11. For every nation where there is still suffering caused by human trafficking
12. For cities not just in India, but in Asia, Europe, and even North America, as human trafficking occurs silently where we least expect it