Since 2004, Rahab’s Rope has worked to transform the lives of women and girls in India.
The local nonprofit this month is highlighted in Delta Sky Magazine along with two others that “help human trafficking survivors break free and start over.” The December issue embraces the theme, “Why people give.”
“I’m always amazed at where we are and what we’ve accomplished,” Vicki Moore, the Gainesville-based nonprofit’s founder, said. “From the beginning, I knew this was a life call for me. It wasn’t something I was going to do for a short amount of time.”
The nonprofit started with a center in Bangalore, India, to offer aftercare to those rescued from sex trafficking. Since then, Moore has opened additional locations in India including in the states of Goa and Manipur and city of Mumbai.
Each of the centers offer a range of services including vocational training, preschool, tutoring, repatriation of minors and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
The mission of Rahab’s Rope is to give hope and opportunity to women and girls who are at risk or have been forced into India’s commercial sex trade.
Anything one of the organization’s ladies needs — including shelter, school costs and medical needs — Rahab’s Rope provides.
The nonprofit pays women to help make clothing and jewelry items that are sold in its Gainesville and Clarkesville storefronts. Moore said 65% of the nonprofit’s funding comes through product sales.
Moore said the goal is not to provide a lifelong job but serve the women during a transitional period.
“We want to ensure that they are successful in their own communities, so they’re not trafficked again or to begin with,” she said.
Over the past year-and-a-half, the nonprofit has hunkered down in Manipur, a state in India that borders the country of Myanmar. Moore said Myanmar supplies a huge percentage of the world’s opioids.
“Around 80% of the families in the state of Manipur are affected by heroin,” she said. “If a lady has been trafficked, she’s usually on drugs. And 90% of the times she’s on heroin.”
Moore said she met a lady living in Manipur who had a facility that offered detox and rehabilitation for heroin addicts. Moore decided to hire her and create the nonprofit’s first rehabilitation and vocational training center in Manipur.
Over 30 women have passed through the Manipur center’s program.
When it first opened, it only offered drug detox services for a month. Moore said those women ended up back in the red light district because they didn’t have an alternative job.
The program is now ongoing and provides vocational training, which Moore said is valuable for empowering women.
“Vocational training is a part of the rehabilitation process because these girls are told they’re worthless and their only value is what they’re sold for,” Moore said. “When they come in and learn to make something, whether sewing or making jewelry, they’re really proud of themselves for the first time in their lives.”
Moore travels to Rahab’s Rope’s India locations for four months each year and teaches women how to make jewelry. Her next trip is the day after Christmas.
Although most of the nonprofit’s work is in India, Hall County residents can help locally.
Rahab’s Rope takes volunteers at its shop locations in Gainesville and Clarkesville. Each month shipments of products arrive from India, and extra hands are needed to tag and count all of the items.
People can host a Rahab’s Rope party, which involves selling the products and showing a five-minute video about the nonprofit’s work. Moore said the organization ships the boxes to those holding the event and pays for the shipping.
Hall residents can also support the organization through purchasing items at its storefronts or online shop. Moore said 35% of the items in the Gainesville store are made by the women she works with in India. The other portion of the product comes from fair-trade artisans and small organizations that help refugees.
“When you’re shopping here, you’re really making a difference in the lives of the women we serve in India,” Moore said. “Whether the girl directly makes the product or it comes from fair-trade, it helps us take care of and move children and women forward to a good place.”