FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It includes forced labor and forced prostitution. But businesses, neighbors and churches in Flower Mound are coming together this weekend to back the vision of Sujo John, whose passion it is to help women and children find freedom.
John is the founder of DFW-based nonprofit You Can Free Us. "The passion of You Can Free Us," he said, "is to set women free from human trafficking. Human trafficking is a huge problem around the world -- a problem in America, a problem in Europe, a problem in India."
The North Texas resident speaks around the country about the cause of human trafficking. As a native of India, John had a desire to make a global difference.
John brings groups of the brothels of New Dehli, where, in a mile and a half stretch of road, there are 37,000 sex workers making little more than $1.50 each day. Most of the girls see 60 to 70 men every single night. "So, we go into the red light district, we go into the transit points where these girls are trafficked, and our goal is, somehow, get these girls out," he said.
Kari Dingler used to be a stay-at-home mom. Now, she is a missionary. "It was the most horrific thing we had ever seen in our lives," Dingler recalled. "I looked into their eyes and they said, 'Would you take us with you?'"
"Young women and girls -- 13, 14, 15 years old -- are sold to the pimps and madams who lock them in cages and repeatedly rape them, until their resistance is broken and they are willing to be prostitutes," Dingler said.
"We have seen many of these women set free," added John.
When a young girl is sold into sex slavery, or kidnapped, her education stops. You Can Free Us provides literacy programs for those woman who have not had a formal education since age 8 or 9. Some women are working in the brothels with their young children. You Can Free Us operates a safe house to provide care for these families, along with counseling and self-defense courses.
The DFW nonprofit also partners with local companies to provide vocational training, real jobs and second chances. "Every life story can be rewritten," explained John. "Doesn't matter where you've been, what you've done with your life. If God can rebuild these broken lives, God can rebuild everyone's story. God can rebuild your marriage. God can rebuild your finances. You just have to begin to dream again."
The nonprofit is holding a fundraiser on September 28 in Flower Mound. You can take part in the Run For Freedom 5K run at Shadow Ridge Middle School. The funds will go toward the safe house in New Dehli, as it works to provide a safe haven for the scores of woman in need of a second chance. Click here for more information about the event.
John and his wife have an interesting story of survival themselves. Both of them worked in the Twin Towers and were among the number of workers who escaped death during the 9/11 terror attacks. Since that time, John has traveled around the world as an inspirational speaker, sharing his message of hope and advocating against human trafficking.
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