Through our partnership with IJM, we are sharing stories of their work for justice in the world. We hope these stories serve to practically undergird the truths we’ve uncovered together in days 1 through 4.
Amrit Kaur is the Associate Director of Government Relations for IJM. Today she will share her incredible, personal story of losing her voice and finding her calling.
I am Amrit. My family comes from the state of Punjab in northern India. Punjabis are known for their commitment and service in the military—they are honored as the protectors of the nation. They are the lions of India.
Yet as a young girl, I never felt protected.
As the oldest of three children, the responsibility of caring for my younger siblings often fell on my shoulders. My mother was sick, and my father was often angry and abusive. His thundering voice and harsh nature made me accustomed to feeling afraid and neglected.
We practiced the religion of Sikhism at home, and every week I joined my family in community prayer at the gurudwara—the local temple. When I was seven years old, I went up to receive a blessing from the guru. He grabbed me, pressed full weight on me, rubbed himself against me, and touched me inappropriately. I was paralyzed by fear. I later told my mother the story and how frightened I was. She dismissed the act along with my fears. As a result, I began to disconnect from my family. I stopped sharing my feelings with them and expecting them to watch out for me. I began to understand that I needed to take care of myself and fight my own battles. This was my first memory of injustice.
My personal experiences and witnessing those of others during my youth exposed me to the desperation, fear, and hopelessness faced by trafficking victims and helped me develop a heart for victims of injustice. But at eighteen, I embraced the message of Christ’s love and ultimate sacrifice for us.
After many years of emotional turmoil, calling out to a God I didn’t know, understand, or believe in, I found the peace I so desperately sought, in Christ. Through Christ I was able to forgive those who had hurt me in the past. Not only did the Holy Spirit allow me to heal in ways I never thought possible, He gave me the boldness and courage to stand strong in the face of injustice. My faith called me to multiple roles, which were all important stepping stones to where I am today.
My twelve years at IJM have been an incredible gift. God has blessed me with the opportunity to participate in more than one hundred rescue operations and help rescue more than one thousand young girls. IJM has given me a voice; I speak for so many young girls who are suffering.
I most realized the impact IJM has on the lives of girls and women trapped in sex trafficking when I recall one rescue I assisted the police with in 2013.
We had learned that two young women were being forced into prostitution in a brothel in the red light area. Armed with this information, I approached the local police, who immediately acted on it. While sitting with the rescue team near the brothel, I couldn’t stop thinking of the young girls. I imagined their smiling faces, filled with joy once we rescued them. And by God’s grace, we managed to rescue two girls that day, and then one of the girls asked if she could help us go back and rescue her friends. She knew the brothel owners hid the girls in walls and that she could show the police where they were hidden.
This is our mission at IJM. We are blessed. We bring girls out of the depths of the most horrific situations, from the darkness of evil into the light of freedom. We hear their screams and we go find them, like the women we rescued and restored that day. It turns out, those same brothel doors that used to hide the abuse and keep the police out are no match for the power of Christ!
In addition, my own relationship with Christ has transformed me. I am no longer that timid, fragile young girl I once was, shattered by abuse. God has brought me to a place where I was given the opportunity to train ten thousand police officers in my state on how to conduct rescue operations! Me! Five-foot, one-inch me! I am now a strong IJM fighter for young girls without a voice.
With God’s help we show these girls that their screams will not go unheard, that they are not a commodity, but precious children, created in the image of God. And it is when we truly depend on God that we can live, be free, and help set others free. We can be who He intended us to be all long.
My name is Amrit. My people are known as the lions of India, but I am a lioness for the kingdom of God.
As we reflect on the pain and redemption that Amrit so bravely shared, might it be time to ask God into your brokenness? And even to prayerfully consider what it may look like to use the wounds of your past to accomplish what God is doing in the world?