Words by: Shaun Murray
As we boarded the plane heading to Western India, Nautique CEO Bill Yeargin gave me the latest estimated numbers on human trafficking, which currently totals tens of millions people worldwide with, by some accounts, nearly half of those located in India. Not knowing exactly what to expect, a team of us were headed right into the heart of it on a Nautique Cares initiative to support a group named “As Our Own”. As Our Own is a non-profit group that has brought in nearly 100 girls from brothels in which their mothers are forced to work and live. Once rescued, these girls are given a home and a high level of education, allowing them to escape the cycle of poverty and raising them “as their own” until they walk them down the aisle for marriage.
We were allowed to walk into the brothels and see where these women live and work. I can assure you that you have never seen anything like it. Part of me wants you to see pictures from the place, but the other part would like to spare you the images being stuck in your head. Either way, As Our Own asked us to not take pictures, or even show who the girls are because their operation could be put at risk. The immediate feeling is that this problem is so overwhelming; you struggle to wrap your head around where to begin.
As Our Own isn’t simply trying to fix the symptoms of the evil that is happening; but fighting the root of the problem in how their society places no value upon the life of those below the poverty level. These girls are graduating with bachelor’s degrees, which is completely life changing for them due to the structure of their society and the limits that have been placed on them from the day they were born. What these girls are able to accomplish with the vision and help of As Our Own is proving what they are capable of not only to themselves, but to a society that is convinced it is impossible for them to amount to anything at all. At the forefront of this movement, As Our Own is working on becoming the example that changes the mindset of a nation, opening their eyes and their hearts to this tragedy against their own people.
While we are all enjoying everything this Holiday Season, please remember that there are some people in this world that are never given a chance in life and are living in situations that you and I could never comprehend.
I am proud to be working with a company that is active in initiatives like Nautique Cares, dedicated in trying to make a positive impact on the world no matter how big or small. If you would like to learn more about As Our Own and support their movement please visit www.asourown.org.