Franklin agency saving girls from sex slavery in Nepal
FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) -
Human trafficking for sex slavery is a worldwide problem - a problem that a small nonprofit in Franklin is tackling one girl at a time.
Collette Bercu loves to tell everyone that for $300 you can take a girl out of sex slavery forever.
Until the end of the year, an anonymous donor has offered to match everyone dollar for dollar for donations to Free for Life International.
Free for Life volunteers stuff envelopes for end of year donations. This is their biggest single fundraiser of the year, and so much is at stake.
Last year Channel 4 News aired the story and many of you gave, and a matching donor responded. There were 52 girls taken out of sex slavery forever.
"This year our goal is 100. In Nepal, we have already rescued 106 girls this year," said Bercu. "We have to fund that. We have to meet all of her needs and make sure she gets counseling, housing and clothing if she needs it. Whatever she needs."
Free for Life operates two monitoring stations in Nepal, one on the Chinese border and one on the border with India.
It's there they find girls traffickers are trying to sneak across the border. They rescue them and house them.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Free for Life was able to reunite a mom and her 6-year-old daughter after years of sex slavery at an Indian hotel, trafficked by her own husband.
"The joy. She just never expected to see that child again," said Bercu. "It's amazing. It brings tears to my eyes, thinking that you're never going to see your children again and that they're in harm's way."
Free for Life was able to give out 62 tailoring scholarships. When the girls finished the class, they were given their own sewing machine.
"This way you have the power to not only be able to change your life, but your children's lives and your grandchildren's lives," said Bercu. "If you have a skill and your own business, you're in control."
What Bercu has not been able to control is her health. She has struggled with even being able to hear or walk with balance.
"They found holes in my head. I had to go in for brain surgery," said Bercu. "It's been a very, very challenging year. But I think to myself, as challenging as my year has been, I don't have to be forced into sex slavery every day."
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