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Recovery & Extraction: Forced To Convert

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue
The Truth Network Radio
August 5, 2023 12:00 pm

Recovery & Extraction: Forced To Convert

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue

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August 5, 2023 12:00 pm

 Today, Robby speaks with John from Lantern Rescue's Recovery & Extraction Team. Listen as he shares some heartbreaking stories of young women being forced into marriages and converted.

A warning: this program contains sensitive content. Listener discretion is advised.

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Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. A new program dedicated to bringing light into the darkness of human trafficking. It's time to light the way to freedom. This is Lantern Rescue. We tell the stories, we talk about rescues, and we empower you to do something about it.

William Wilberforce once said, let it not be said I was silent when they needed me. This is Lantern Rescue. So welcome to Lantern Rescue, and I know that you're going to be so glad you tuned in today as we have some amazing stories of what God's doing around the world, especially in this episode with our recovery and extraction team. And we've got John here, one of our team members here with Lantern Rescue. And John, it's really amazing how God hears these cries out in the darkness somewhere and rushes to their help, right?

Yes. Yeah, it's amazing to see how the more you hear terrible things happening, and especially involving the young and the senseless, and it feels so hopeless. And yet, it's amazing to see how God brings people along.

He creates ways to bring hope, to encourage, and He provides miracles in many ways to do what we can't just to create a good outcome, and it's amazing to be a part of. Today I would like to highlight what we're doing with young girls that have been kidnapped. So this is an initiative started by a partner program called Voice of Christian, and they're actually who I work through directly.

We partner with Lantern to do a lot of amazing things, and we're definitely grateful for that. And it's amazing to see just the change that can happen when you just have some people willing. So a big problem in several different countries in the Middle East, but especially in Pakistan, which is one area that we work in, is where you'll have young girls that are kidnapped and forced to get married against their will, they're forced to convert to Islam.

And it's all very illegal, it's very tragic, but it is happening, and at an alarming rate. And the specific girls that tend to be targeted are non-Muslim girls, as if there's extra kudos or points given for a Muslim man that can force-convert these young girls. It's horrifying, really, because many of the girls we've rescued, they're barely teenagers, and 13, 14 years old.

And so, for example, we just helped a girl this last month, in fact there's two girls in the last two months. And what's happened is, they take these girls, they force them to sign a document saying that they're actually 18 years old, which is absolutely ridiculous, I don't even know how they can come up with something like that. And then they force them to get married, and the girls have to endure just a lot of abuse, rape, all kinds of horrible situations while they're living with these men, many times they're older men too, you know, 40s, 50s, later. So what we've been doing, we've got a shelter where we will help rescue these girls, we'll put them in the shelter, protect them, keep them kind of hidden while we fight their legal battles. And you'd think, you know, clearly there's a girl with a birth certificate saying she's 13 years old, that her marriage should be nullified since it is illegal, but it's actually turned out to be very difficult, a lot of these people have a lot of money and power, and they threaten and create things very difficult for the family. There's one case of a girl, we've been helping her in her legal battles for well over a year now, I think we're coming close to two years, and her family actually got so scared, it's a Christian girl, but her family got so scared from the threats and they lost their home, there's just all kinds of stuff that was going on that they abandoned her. So one of our staff members is actually looking to adopt her right now, and at once they're done with the legal process.

So it's kind of, it's a terrible situation, but it's amazing how God has created, given us people that know how to fight illegal battles, do whatever steps we need to at least get them out of that initial really tragic situation. Yeah, so, you know, how did they become aware, is it the family brings us to y'all's attention, or how do you become aware that it has happened, and then, you know, can you walk us through a little bit about how they actually find them and what's going on? Yeah, so it's, typically it is something that a family will bring to us, in most cases they've gone to the police, they've tried every other option, no one's helping them because their daughter's a Christian, because the family's a Christian, and then fortunately they just are treated as less than second-class citizens, but less in these countries. So that's usually where they come to, the family's already exhausted all the resources, so we'll find a way to have the family, we'll find a way to pick up the girl, maybe we can arrange a meeting or whatever, and then we'll take her to a shelter, and then that begins the process of, you know, putting in a court appeal and all the legal processes going to, you know, the police stations and showing documentation of, hey, this is, you know, this is what's happening and you have to start working on this, otherwise we'll report this, and just try to put a lot of pressure on it, and it takes time.

It's not something that, unfortunately, is something like the American system where we could, you know, get justice quickly or get at least a good trial or something like that. It takes some time, sometimes it takes some bribes, whatever else we can do just to get it before a judge and actually getting what we need to do, but that's the initial process, and honestly, I think even the bigger struggle is after the aftercare. Right now, like, we have several, several girls in the shelter at the double check, but I want to say, well, over 12 last night checked, and we need to invest in them. They've gone through trauma, they've had a really challenging life, and what I noticed, so actually this last week, I had a Zoom meeting with them to talk about social media posting and how to advertise and things like that, because they're trying to train them with skills and do photography and other outlets like that so they can, you know, they're out of high school, they can get a job. And what I found out was many of the girls were taken out of high school or had to stop their education, and some of them were there for several years. They were, as a wife, as a kidnapped wife, but wife, essentially, they weren't allowed to continue their studies, and so many of them, actually all of them are very behind in their school, so they're trying to get them caught up in schooling and even just reading, writing, things like that.

They're very behind on, so that's a difficult thing to kind of, to work on. One, you've got their education, we're trying to get them caught up here, and then on the other side, their mental health and emotional health. I mean, being a teen girl is already, you know, a challenging time, and there's a lot going on, but on top of everything that's happened to them, our shelter employees, they have a lot on their hands, but they're doing an amazing job, and sometimes the only thing they can do is just love and encourage and talk to them about, you know, their role in Christ and their new identity in Christ and things like that, and just minister to them. So, I've talked to, we've got a director that's in charge of the shelter, and I've talked to her a few times about, there are a lot of challenges, a lot of things pop up, but it is amazing to see how God has placed her especially there to love and care for them, even more than the academic training that we're trying to get them caught up on. It's that healing, that trauma healing, that investing in their lives and bringing them up that I think is so important now. Yeah, that's really incredible, and so I was curious, is there some type of a law enforcement team or something that's trying to get, is there an organization behind all this that is setting these up, and is there a way to prosecute them?

No, as far as I'm aware, there's no law organization that's really taking this seriously to take down, and there's no organization that's setting these up. It's a cultural thing. Culturally, it's been normal to marry younger girls, and when that became illegal, the practice itself didn't stop. And when you look at Islam, it's something that was even encouraged in the Islamic faith, and then on top of that, you have this concept of, in Islam, you're looking for, it's almost like a point system, but nobody can keep track of the points. They need to achieve a certain level of points to get into heaven, but then there's levels of heaven, and the better you do, the higher those levels of heaven you'll be. So things like converting people, whether that's forced or not, those are big points, if you will.

Sorry to use such a big term like points, but yeah. So it's really built into their, I don't think it's specific, I don't think Islam itself would say, I don't think, you know, there's no scripture in the Quran that would say necessarily, I'm not an expert, but it would say, you know, to force convert through marriage of a young girl. But the implications are all laid out there, and so it's not hard to see how that practice is encouraged at the very least, and so that's why you see it, not just in one country, but multiple countries.

Right, I think the way that I understand, it's like a lot of legalistic religions that they're trying to have the merit, right, they're trying to merit their place into heaven or whatever they perceive that, you know, a horrible, unbelievable, you know, situation that, you know, I can't imagine how you'd want to end up in such a place. But anyway, I hate we got to go to a break, we got a whole lot more updates we want to give you on this extraction and what's going on. So we got a lot more coming back with John, so stay tuned. Lantern Rescue is a USA based organization that conducts international rescue operations for people suffering from human trafficking. Lantern specializes in sending former US Special Operation law enforcement and intelligence personnel to partner with host nations and assist them in creating specialized units to combat ongoing security problems, such as genocide, terrorism, and human trafficking.

It's the largest criminal activity in the world, reaching an estimated $150 billion in annual activity. Lantern Rescue has developed rapidly to combat trafficking. Lantern operates through a trained international network in order to rescue women and children from sex and labor slavery, and facilitates holistic aftercare services.

They're gearing up for operations right now and you can go to to see how you can support them financially. Welcome back. Today's episode on Lantern Rescue, an update from the recovery and extraction teams, today specifically, those working in the areas of where these young girls are being kidnapped, essentially, and then forced to marry and convert to Islam. And, you know, it's just an unbelievably horrible situation. So, John, have you got another one of these individuals you can kind of share what they went through?

Yeah, I can. So this time, I'll tell the story of a girl for security sakes. We'll just call her Mary. She was 14 years old, and she was abducted by a Muslim man. So, Mary was a Christian girl in a Christian family and, you know, aspired to be in law. She wanted to do a lot with her life. She had ambitions, but she had a Christian faith.

And with that Christian faith, there's wanting to, you know, grow up and marry a Christian man and, you know, have a Christian family and things like that. But at the age of 14, and while she's still even thinking through a lot of her plans for the future, she was abducted, taken to a Muslim cleric who forced her to sign what's called a kabul-e-islam, I believe is how you pronounce it, but it's a certificate basically saying that she was a Muslim. Also forced her to sign a document saying that she was 18 years old, instead of the 14 year old that her birth certificate said she was, and then forced to marry this man.

So, she was living as her husband for two years. Her family were trying to find ways to get her out. They went to the police several times, filed cases.

They said, oh yes, yes, we'll understand, but the cases never went anywhere. And finally, they started being aggressive with the family, not allowing them. And this whole time, Mary is subject to everything that comes with being married to this man. He was abusive, he was angry, he really did a lot of horrible things while she was married. Finally, once VOC, Voice of Christians, was aware of the situation, we were able to meet up with her, bring her to a safe house without knowing where, without her alleged husband knowing where she was.

And began the process of bringing her back into nullifying the marriage, creating the legal process of doing that. Now, she's still in her shelter. We teach her, we've been trying to catch up on her education, teaching her life skills, discipling her, helping her to recover. She went out with a group this last month to go to the park, and they enjoyed nature, talked to dogs, played with children from another refugee shelter that went with them.

They were able to play and talk with them. And Mary hopes to, she still hopes to become a lawyer when she's older, but she wants to be a lawyer that can defend girls and stop things like this from happening to other people. And I say that the story itself is, I know I kept it a little generic for her sake, but also because there's many girls with Mary's face. In fact, there's thousands and thousands of girls, and so far they're still living with the husband or the kidnapper.

I wouldn't like calling your husband because they're not even their husband. They're a kidnapper. They're not legally doing anything that could be considered legal or moral or anything. And these people, one of the biggest things that's allowing this to continue to happen is the secrecy of it. This is something that a lot of people are trying to expose, but it can be pushed under the rug, it can be hidden in the local areas, the people bring it up, the police can push it under the rug and not talk about it, and there's very few consequences.

And because of the low amount of attention and the low amount of consequences, Mary's not going to be the last girl kidnapped, and to me that's a huge problem. There's a lot of problems in this world, but simply something happening and allowed to continue to happen because it's not receiving the amount of attention that it should have, I think is tragic. And that compels me that if there's anything that I can do to bring attention to something or to increase awareness, I want to do that because I have time. I always tell people, I don't have any time, I've got a family, I've got work, and I work all hours of the day, but we always can find small amounts of time for things, and this is one of those things that I think it's really worth your time to research, to talk about.

I mean, because how valuable is that innocent life? Oh my goodness, and especially for the girl, the family, it's unthinkable to be one of those parents, but like anything, darkness wants to hide it, and so what an amazing thing it is that God gives us the gift to bring it, partner with him, and just like Landon says, bring it out into the light. And so I'm sure, like me, all the listeners would love to know, what can we do? Obviously, share this podcast and make people aware of it, but what are some of the other things you're thinking, John?

Yeah, definitely. I think, yeah, things like sharing podcasts, sharing, I think Landon put out a wonderful little article about this. You can go to Landon's website, read the article, share it.

The Voice of Christians on YouTube channel has shared some of these stories. So there's things that you can do to share and try to spread the word, and that's for sure, but I think probably the biggest thing, in my opinion, is to inform yourself. Read the articles, and honestly, it doesn't take very much to, you can literally just read a few articles and get a pretty good grasp of what's going on, even the information in this podcast. And as you learn more about where this is happening and what's happening, you become educated on it, and when you become educated on something, you're more likely to talk about it. So if it's something that's passionate, really the passion is the core key. So if you feel God giving you a passion about this, don't ignore that. Educate yourself on it.

Share it. Talk to people about it. Bring it up to people that don't know. And sometimes, I know for me, it gets a little overwhelming sometimes when I feel like I'm always talking about negative things and hard things, that people don't want to listen to me anymore, but it's not just negative, because there are so many people, so many young girls that are safe now because somebody listened.

Somebody talked about it. Somebody became aware, and somebody did something about it. And so that is, to me, I think the biggest thing is just educate yourself about it and talk about it. And who knows, as you pray, maybe God will show you a way that you can do something, whether it's maybe donating money, but maybe it's going on a trip, or maybe it's writing to a senator or something like that about a specific case that you want to bring more attention to.

I don't think we realize that sometimes American politics can have an impact internationally, where we can talk about something, and if we raise loud enough voice, we can put pressure on the politics of another country even. And I know one of the things you said is absolutely gigantic, and there's no understating it. I mean, there's no overstating, I guess would be a better way to put it, is that idea of prayer, right? That as God is putting something on your heart, the first thing is say, oh God, this hurts. I mean, be aware of it. How can you use me in this?

What would be a way? I had a fascinating experience Tuesday morning early, and I don't know how to explain it other than I just felt the Lord took me, and he wanted to show me how precious my prayers were, and he actually took me to this bowl. And I got a chance to actually, he played my prayer back to me that I'd long forgot about for somebody's salvation, actually, and he was showing me how precious that was to him. And so, you know, you feel this sense of God, we've got to do something, so join with him, right?

Because nobody wants to do something more than he does. And so, you know, join with him in prayer and spend some time at it. And it'd be interesting to see how the Holy Spirit guides you, right, into, you know, undoubtedly, the United States sends all kinds of money to Pakistan. I mean, and so we have leverage, you know. In lots of different ways, we have leverage, but there's also diplomats and all sorts of things that I'm sure, as you become more passionate, and I love the idea of, you know, just to research it. And so you guys have got those articles and stuff, right, at

Yes, yeah. Let's see, I have one specifically that was written, but it's a little longer. It's forward slash kidnap, sexually abused and forced to convert to Islam. But I'm sure if you go to the articles under the rescue section, you should be able to find it, because I think it was recently, yeah, it was just recently published a few days ago.

So it should be one of the most recent articles. Yeah, we are, again, these are things that I had, you know, certainly would not have any idea about, and God's bringing it out in the light. And so he's given us all the opportunity to bring it out in the light, you know, in your circles of friends. And as you, you know, go about your life, you know, God is aware of these lives that just can't go about their life. And so, you know, it's such an opportunity that God gives us to share on these things. And I'm so grateful for you, John, what God's doing through landing there. Thanks so much for your time today.

Oh, it's wonderful being here. And I love what you said about prayer. That was encouraging to me.

But yes, I think prayer is the most powerful tool here. Oh, that's awesome. God bless. Thanks, John. God bless you. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-05 14:30:13 / 2023-08-05 14:39:40 / 9

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