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SJCH Joining with Organizations to Hold "Best of Bakersfield" Event to Prevent Human Trafficking

Event Imagine a place where crossing zip codes means leaving freedom and entering captivity. For thousands of young girls in Nepal, the journey into India often entails exactly that.

In the United States, the thought of teenage girls being sold into sexual slavery is met with shock and uproar. In India and Nepal, however, human trafficking is a reality that is all too commonplace. It’s estimated that 6,000-7,000 Nepalese girls are trafficked into India each year. In many cases, the girls are taken by a strategically-placed “boyfriend” or other hired transplant. But sadly, many of them are sold by relatives, and even their immediate family members who simply need the money to survive.
When a young woman is betrayed by her own family – the people positioned to love and care for her most – all hope is seemingly lost.

Luckily, these young ladies now have surrogate parents, or more accurately, a Global Family.
Global Family is a non-profit organization that endeavors to rescue and care for abused, oppressed, and abandoned children in India and Nepal ... in the context of family. In 2008, Global Family created the Daughter Project to help prevent Nepalese girls being trafficked into India. Through building shelters, educating local communities, and inspiring frontline volunteerism; the Daughter Project has already rescued dozens of young women from the throngs of captivity. Clark and Jennifer Jensen, founders of the project, have seen the need firsthand through many years of living in the region. Recently, they visited one of the transit shelters on the Nepal/India border.

“During my time in the shelter, I sat with 13 young girls who have all been rescued from being trafficked or systematically abused.” Jensen said. “Two of the girls, who were only 9 and 7 years old, were crossing the border with their mother and an “agent” and were just moments away from being handed over to buyers. Another had been living on her own since she was 5 and had been beaten so badly that she was left for dead in a dumpster.”

In the midst of such dire circumstances, the girls are amazingly upbeat.

“The stories of what these girls have been through are almost too difficult to comprehend. Despite the hardships and abuse they have experienced, they are full of life, laughter and love. It’s a miracle.”
Through the Daughter Project, Global Family has set up shelters along the Nepal/India border. Once girls are rescued at the border – mostly by local volunteers – they are taken to one of these shelters where they are fed and cared for. During their six month stay, Global Family researches each individual’s situation, determining the next best course of action.

“Ideally, we want to reunite these girls with their families,” Jensen said. “But when it’s not safe to do so, volunteers from local churches often step up and take them in.”
The cost of caring for each girl in a shelter for six months is $300. To continue providing care over the next five years is roughly $2,500.

In support of Global Family, local organizations like San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH), the Bakersfield Jam, Continental Labor & Staffing, and the Cuningham Group are holding an event on June 3 to help raise funds to provide care for rescued girls. The “Best of Bakersfield” will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Bakersfield Jam Event Center (1400 Norris Road). Along with great food and entertainment, the evening will spotlight the Daughter Project. Tables for eight are $1,500, while individual tickets are $150.

“This past winter, I had the opportunity to visit India with the Global Family team,” said Jarrod McNaughton, SJCH vice president. “I witnessed firsthand the terrible injustices taking place in India. But more importantly, I had the opportunity to see the wonderful difference that Global Family is making.”

For more information on the Best of Bakersfield, or to purchase tickets, please contact Jennifer Jensen at (661) 616-0326 or (661) 932-2851. To learn more about Global Family, visit www.myglobalfamily.org.