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Dickey in Mumbai to help end sexual exploitation

Dickey in Mumbai to help end sexual exploitation

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.''

Cavaliers clamp down on Pitt

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Cavaliers clamp down on Pitt

PITTSBURGH -- No. 1 Virginia allowed just seven points in the first half and secured the regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference title outright with a 66-37 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Freshman guard De'Andre Hunter came off the bench to lead the Cavaliers (26-2, 14-1 ACC) with 14 points in a game that didn't take big offensive efforts from Virginia's regulars. Of the five starters, only guard Ty Jerome exceeded his season average with 13 points.

The game was never competitive, as Virginia started on an 8-0 run and Pitt didn't make a field goal until Jared Wilson-Frame hit a 3-pointer at the midway point of the first half.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett rested most of his regulars in the second half. Reserve Nigel Johnson added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

Parker Stewart led Pitt (8-22, 0-17) with 12 points, all on 3-pointers. Pitt had next to no presence inside. The Panthers were outscored 28-8 in the paint and out-rebounded 36-24. Seven of Pitt's 11 made field goals were from beyond the arc.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

The Caps could not shake Buffalo for two periods, but a dominant finish on Saturday helped them pull away for a 5-1 win. Here's how they finally put away the Sabres.

A quick start

Strong starts go a long way towards helping a team in the middle of a slump. It's a confidence boost for a group in desperate need of one and the Caps got that boost on Saturday from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov used his wheels to zip in behind the defense and score just 50 seconds into the game. Washington led 1-0 at the end of the first, just the second time in 19 games they have held a lead after the opening 20 minutes.

RELATED: SEE THE 3 STARS FROM CAPS-SABRES HERE

Andre Burakovsky snapping a second period slump

It looked in the second period like the Caps were caught trying to protect the lead again, but Andre Burakovsky woke the team back up with his incredible highlight end-to-end goal. It really looked like Buffalo was going to tie the game at one, but instead, Burakovsky extended the lead to two. Going end to end the way he did shows a player who is starting to play with some confidence, something Burakovsky has lacked for much of the season.

Ovechkin's two-goal third period

Buffalo would not go away. Sam Reinhart got the Sabres on the board just 14 seconds into the third period and suddenly the Caps found themselves in a one-goal game again. But Ovechkin ended any hopes for the comeback as he struck in the top corner of the net on the power play from the office. He would later add a deflection goal to extend the lead to 5-1, giving a scuffling Washington team the dominant win they so sorely needed.