Meet the Founders
"We are passionate about finding and rescuing girls who were sold into sexual slavery. We have the privilege of seeing the transformation of each precious girl."
Greg and Mala Malstead, compelled by a unique calling that combined God's heart for justice and His love for the oppressed, moved their young family to Mumbai, India in 2000. Their dream was to rescue young girls from forced prostitution and bring systemic change to the sex-trafficking industry in India. Greg had just been hired as the International Justice Mission's (IJM) Operational Field Director.
Greg, an attorney, established IJM’s first overseas office and built a team of investigators, lawyers and social workers. The team worked with local authorities to bring rescue and justice to victims of sex trafficking. In his five years with IJM, Greg led and participated in interventions that resulted in the rescue of over 450 victims of sex trafficking. He assisted in the prosecution of more than 180 perpetrators and successfully attained convictions in 6 groundbreaking cases.
After five years in Mumbai with IJM, the Malsteads were eager to engage in the restoration of the girls in a deeper way. They wanted to assist the girls in the long journey towards healing and wholeness. Meanwhile, they saw vast areas of India that no other NGO had explored, where literally thousands of girls were held captive in sexual slavery. With their four children needing better schooling opportunities in a healthier location, the Malsteads decided to leave IJM and start a similar ministry.
In 2006, the Malsteads founded Freedom Firm in Ooty, Tamil Nadu. Freedom Firm’s investigative team was soon on the ground rescuing minor girls. The very first girl they rescued was Karishma, age 12. Soon Freedom Firm started regional offices in Pune and Nagpur, each with its own team of investigators, social workers, and police liaisons managing the rescues, regional aftercare and legal work in cities and surrounding areas populated by tens of millions of people.
Today, Freedom Firm has a total of 6 regional offices spread across India. These are established in the nation's most needy states and regions where trafficking is a major industry. The teams often travel within a 500 mile radius of their office to search for and rescue girls, and to follow up with rescued girls. As part of Freedom Firm's regional aftercare program, social workers regularly visit the girls who live in government shelter homes, providing counseling, health care, education and job training.
In Ooty, Mala, together with professional staff, developed a residential home that cared for rescued girls for the next five years. She also created Leg Up, a unique horse therapy program that taught the rescued girls to overcome fears and learn to care for others. In 2010, Freedom Firm transitioned from offering residential care to providing employment opportunities through Ruhamah Designs, a handicraft business created by Freedom Firm in Ooty.
One of the highlights of our restoration program is the 4 annual camps Freedom Firm offers together with a sponsoring church from the US. Each camp provides 25 girls with a whole week in the wilderness that combines learning, overcoming fears and having fun through a myriad of methods, stories, crafts, games, and activities. For most, it’s the only camp they will ever attend, and for many, the camp is life-changing.
Since 2006, Freedom Firm has rescued over 600 young women from commercial sexual exploitation. The hundreds of life interventions provided opportunities in moments of need: births, deaths, marriages, illnesses, conflicts, jobs, adoptions, education, friendships, therapy, money, food, shelter, sound advice, child care, and prayer, simply cannot be counted. Freedom Firm doesn't just rescue a girl, they walk with her for life.