As this crazy year approaches its end, rescue missions funded by Child Rescue remain relentless. Covid-19 has brought changes and difficulties for everyone across the globe, including our organisation.
Our rescue operations have taken a lot more effort this year as rescue agents must implement safety precautions and keep up with complex and evolving government processes.
Reintegration teams are feeling the weight of these times as well. They work closely with impoverished families who are now experiencing exaggerated financial stress as lockdowns restrict their ability to earn an income and purchase essential goods such as food.
Caseworkers and others in our reintegration teams have been innovative, coordinating packs of food for rescued girls and their families. In some countries, food has been sent to communities we have identified as being especially vulnerable to human trafficking. The food not only prevented the communities from potentially starving but also lead to the rescue of girls who were part of those communities.
Amidst the difficulties of this year, Child Rescue was able to enable the rescue of 33 people across four countries in four days. This latest surge of rescue is incredibly encouraging.
Three high-school girls rescued in Thailand
Paths to Freedom
In Thailand, rescue agents found a 14-year-old girl being exploited at a karaoke bar. She came from a poor family who could no longer afford to send her to school. She had taken this job to help support her family and pay her way through high school. Unfortunately, this place of work was instead a place of abuse and exploitation. Agents also learned there were two more 14-year-olds at this particular bar in a similar situation.
All three girls have been rescued and reunited with their families. They are enrolled in our community care reintegration program which pairs them with one of our caseworkers and provides support that will help them stay free. Our program has extended scholarships to all three girls allowing them to go to school and focus on their studies.
Fourteen-year-old girl rescued in Cambodia
In Cambodia, a 14-year-old girl said yes to freedom and is now enrolled in our community care program. She will be able to live at home with her family while receiving assistance from our reintegration team along her path to freedom.
Nine girls and young women rescued at the Nepal border
Borders are open and we are there
In Nepal, nine girls and young women were rescued by our agents along border checkpoints. Seven of them had met their traffickers via social media. (pictured: PPE and temperature checks are now routine for border rescue agents)
While each one’s story is unique, they have common factors. Each one had met her trafficker within the past 5 months and all were told to lie if questioned at the border. Traffickers lured them over the border with promises of well-paying jobs or the security of marriage with the exception of one young child.
The youngest girl intercepted this week was only 12 years old. She met a woman through Facebook who convinced her to meet up for a tour of a neighboring country. The child agreed to meet and was then held in a hotel room and sexually abused by two men, friends of this woman. After three nights of abuse, they created a false ID for her and attempted to take her across the border.
As they crossed they were stopped by our team and questioned. Rescue agents separated them and asked them further questions and quickly their stories did not match. Soon the young girl opened up to our staff and told them all she had been through and how she had been instructed to lie as they crossed the border. The three adults were sent to the police station. The child was brought to our transitional shelter and then reunited with her mother.
Border rescues typically occur before a trafficking victim has experienced abuse. In cases like these, where abuse has already happened, we work hard to get them the counseling and care they need.
Two operations rescue 20 girls and women in the Philippines
Survivor tip leads to 20 rescues
In the Philippines, rescue agents completed two successful rescue operations after doing surveillance for two months. After receiving a tip from a brave survivor in one of our partner homes, rescue agents began investigating a family-run trafficking ring. The family, under the direction of its matriarch, would sell girls to foreigners in an old US-naval base city.
Agents spent meticulous hours locating the family members, learning where they operate and who they talk to. After our agents brought a case to the National Bureau of Investigation in the Philippines, a rescue operation was put in motion to rescue the girls and arrest the perpetrators.
On the day of the sting, a transport van, tasked to bring the survivors back to safety, was held for an hour at a checkpoint for quarantine. Despite this, our operation was still a success, and 18 girls and women were rescued. (pictured: caseworkers look after the newly rescued survivors right after the raid) Law enforcement in the country arrested the matriarch and her two daughters. All three were implicated in trafficking the girls.
Our work did not end there.
Our rescue agents found some of the perpetrators’ clientele, which exposed a man who was currently in possession of two teenage girls. Rescue agents, along with a different anti-trafficking police unit, found the man, who was a US citizen, and rescued the two girls. They were 15 and 16.
We gave the survivors transportation and dignity packs (bags with essential items), and helped them get placed in a government-picked shelter.
God’s call and provision is unwavering. By His grace, our rescue operations push forward without hesitation and our reintegration teams continue to serve survivors with their whole hearts.
Thank you to our donors who continue to sacrifice relentlessly so children can be rescued and stay free.
You can help rescue the next child and set them on a path to freedom.