These Hands

Natalie Jaranowski   -  

Human trafficking is a huge problem in Myanmar.  In the states we think of trafficking as only sexual, but forced labor in homes or in the fields is just as common.  Sometimes the family is tricked into thinking that they are sending their child to work a legitimate job, only to find out that their child has disappeared.  And many times the trafficker is someone the child or parents know or is even a relative of the child.  Many of the girls end up as domestic servants, and are horribly abused.
Uncharted is the sole sponsor of a human trafficking restoration center near Yangon.  There are several churches and NGOs that work to place girls who have escaped or been rescued from trafficking.   At the center, they work with the survivors to restore them physically, emotionally, and spiritually, with the goal of reuniting them with their families.  Before they reintegrate the survivor, they meet with the family for education and training, and then they meet with the village or community as well.  It’s an opportunity not only to help the survivor but also to educate the community to help prevent this from happening to others. 
Today we visited the restoration center.  I met a young girl there.  She was about 16.  She was being held captive as a domestic servant, and the owner of the house was displeased with her work.  In his anger he shoved her hands down in boiling oil.  She was injured so severely that she was unable to work, so he was forced to take her to the hospital.  He threatened her to tell them that she did it herself.  But at the hospital, the doctor did not believe her and contacted the authorities, and they were able to rescue her. 
Now she is at the restoration center, where her day is filled with peacefulness and joy.  She is learning how to embroider, and has been making wallets which are shipped to churches and sold to raise money for the center. 

Hands that once were wrapped around her mother’s neck in safety and security were bound together in captivity.  These hands were forced to cook, clean, wash, and iron.  These hands wiped the sweat from her brow anxiously as the housemaster looked on in disapproval.   These hands bore the punishment of an evil man in an evil home, in an evil system where the life of a child only has value for the work it can produce.
But now, these same hands clasp a bible as she reads her daily devotion.  They are raised high during worship and prayer.  These hands reached out to me and touched my heart.  These hands, bearing the scars of her abuse, are used to create beauty.  That is restoration.   
To learn more or to support the restoration center, please visit: