Dickey compelled to help end sexual exploitation

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 30, 2013
(Eds: Updates.) By The Associated Press R.A. Dickey said the pictures and literature couldn't have prepared him for the young boy who approached him last week on one of the squalid streets of Mumbai's red-light district. The boy was maybe 3 years old, 4 at best. He had no pants on. His body was covered with open sores. ''He was playing amongst the open sewage and filth with rats as big as dogs. Unsupervised,'' the Toronto Blue Jays' new knuckleballer told The Canadian Press on a conference call Tuesday from India's most populous city. ''You see these images and pictures that just don't seem like they should exist. And you hope that it's the only one ... but that's what's representative, these lives that just don't have a voice.'' The 38-year-old is in Mumbai to work with Bombay Teen Challenge, a Christian organization that has rescued women and children from sex trafficking for the past 23 years. It's a cause that Dickey says speaks to his own narrative. He wrote about being sexually abused as a child in his autobiography ''Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball.'' ''It's authentic to me because of my past experience, also I have a sentimentality to it because the girls that I've seen firsthand in the streets, these 19-, 20-, 21-year-old girls. You have to look beyond that and see at one point they were daughters themselves, and having two daughters ... that just for me was so compelling.'' He made the trip with his daughters, 11-year-old Gabriel and 9-year-old Lila. ''I want to give my children a heart for humanity,'' Dickey said. ''The only way to really do that is to get them outside of the bubble that they live in, and expose them in very measured ways to what real life is to a lot of people. They've responded beautifully.'' The 2012 NL Cy Young winner said it's been ''a roller-coaster'' visit, from the visceral red-light images of women in doorways and the cages where they keep them when they're first trafficked. But he also saw hope. Dickey and his daughters stayed at Ashagram, a rehabilitation campus outside Mumbai that's home to 300 women and children. They were the ''most hopeful days'' of the trip. They played cricket and sang songs with the children, many of whom are HIV positive. ''Those are the miracles, the 300 lives in Ashagram, those are 300 living miracles,'' Dickey said. ''Sure (my daughters) heard about the wickedness and the darkness, but they got to actually see the redemption, so their response has been really positive. This is a seminal trip for them.'' Dickey, who speaks openly with his daughters about his own sexual abuse, helped celebrate the opening of a clinic in the midst of Mumbai's red-light district. He helped pay for the clinic, raising over $100,000 by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro last winter. ''The facility is like a beacon of light in the middle of a swamp,'' he said. BTC's Thomason Varghese said the organization was blessed by Dickey's presence. ''But we think we've been even more blessed by his daughters,'' Varghese said. ''Just to see innocent girls loving our girls and playing with them with no inhibitions, it's just been a real joy for us to see and experience. There are friendships that have come through this despite how different their backgrounds are. ''Today the girls were in our feeding truck serving food to those who are coming from the street, just watching that was a sight to see.'' While estimates of sex trafficking in India vary, most studies put the number at more than a million children involved in the country's sex trade. Dickey was asked how can one measure success in the face of such grim statistics. ''If the organization rescues one human life from that hell, then it's done its job in some way,'' Dickey said. ''You're talking over the last 23 years over 1,000 lives being rescued, given a second chance to have a life, rescuing children, people who were left for dead on doorsteps of these brothels. . . ''The women who had been trafficked into prostitution, dying in hospitals with their children by their bed, here's the Bombay Teen Challenge with a relationship in place to be able to take in and care for these children. ''How do you measure success? I think it's one life at a time.''
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Five most anticipated September MLB call-ups
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

The NFL is thinking about eliminating the preseason

Romo expected to miss 6-10 weeks with broken bone in back

Kaepernick explains why he is protesting national anthem

Dwyane Wade’s cousin shot and killed in Chicago

NFL tries to reduce kick returns, promptly causes more kick returns

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

San Francisco Giants inching closer to a record they really don’t want

Clint Dempsey undergoing testing for irregular heartbeat

Troubling details emerge from Jeremy Jeffress' DWI arrest

Chargers would welcome Joey Bosa if he signed contract

Falcons rookie Keanu Neal needs surgery on knee

Jerry Jones unhappy with Ezekiel Elliott's dispensary visit

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker