The new year has brought new successes for the Destiny Rescue (an organisation whose rescue work in Thailand, Nepal, the Philippines and Cambodia Child Rescue helps fund) team in the Dominican Republic!
The team on the ground has been steadily building a network of relationships with various local law enforcement agencies. Gaining the trust of police and officials was a daunting task at times—especially with changes in the social landscape over the last few years—but Destiny Rescue’s team was resolute. They patiently nurtured personal relationships and fostered new connections, never losing sight of their long-term goal of rescuing more kids in the region.
They’ve come a long way in their collaboration with the police, and it’s showing.
Last year, Destiny Rescue worked with the police on about five to six cases a month. Now, in the first quarter of 2023, they’re averaging 15 cases a month. At this rate, the Dominican Republic team could meet their year-end case goal by July!
Law enforcement agencies work closely with Destiny Rescue’s team because they know they can trust them. Their agents, many of whom are current or former law enforcement, have a strong understanding of police procedures. “We’ve learned how the different government agencies and law enforcement tick,” said Lucas, the rescue manager there. “Because we meet their needs, they are willing to help meet ours.”
Their agents’ expertise in undercover work, analytics and each aspect of the investigative process are valuable resources to police. And because they’ve built such strong ties with law enforcement agencies, they feel comfortable integrating Destiny Rescue’s people into their investigations—they’re collaborating side by side in our joint mission to rescue children in the region.
These brave agents go undercover, often pretending to be child sex buyers themselves, to identify victims and traffickers alike. They spend countless hours surveilling traffickers and victims, tracking the perpetrators to their hideouts and often revealing more victims and offenders in the process.
They also help police by wading through mountains of data to build solid cases against perpetrators so they never get to harm another child. Lucas is proud of Destiny Rescue’s investigators’ efforts: “They know exactly what police will need to close the case, and make sure to go the extra mile beyond the rescue and make sure that the evidence is properly collected and a prosecution is likely.”
Finally, they often join police on raids and arrests, assisting in every step of the process.
A major raid last year demonstrated Destiny Rescue’s collaboration with the police. Our operatives worked alongside officers in Operation Cattleya, a massive raid that rescued over 70 survivors and took down an international trafficking ring. That nine-month-long case culminated in an enormous joint operation that spanned half the country.
Lucas credits that case, along with many other smaller ones, for the trust that’s been built with officials. “Through the (Cattleya) case, our relationships with law enforcement have become very strong,” Lucas said.
The raid did more than prove our partnership’s effectiveness; it forced traffickers to change how they operate. Criminals were so shaken by the event that they’ve seen them begin to shift the way they carry out their despicable trade in the Dominican Republic.
New investigations indicate that international traffickers who bring in victims from neighbouring countries are changing where they do business to try and avoid detection. Destiny Rescue’s team is already working with police to prosecute these criminals, no matter where they try to hide.
Destiny Rescue’s helping police take down more perpetrators than ever, setting their victims free from the bondage of exploitation. And now, thanks to new partnerships, they’re giving survivors a boost on their journey to freedom.
The rapport we’ve established with government agencies grants us the influence to suggest loving, Christ-centred organisations to help survivors heal. They’ve built relationships with local Christian organisations that use comprehensive aftercare programs, including counselling with psychologists, to help survivors recover.
After being treated as a commodity for so long, the young survivors are learning to value themselves again. They learn that they are much more than a body to abuse, but instead an eternal soul so loved by the Creator of the universe that He gave His Son so they could be together.
That type of knowledge changes lives.
“We can see how life changes for those girls after being rescued… they become somebody they themselves could never imagine,” Johnathan, country manager in the Dominican, remarked.
“They are no longer living in fear of sexual exploitation,” Lucas said.
If you want to play a role in putting away traffickers and changing lives, please consider joining us by completing the form below. Your gift means more than you can imagine.
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Child Rescue Charitable Trust and Child Rescue Charitable Aid Trust are registered New Zealand charities. Separate returns for each charity are filed each year with Charities Services which is a NZ Government organisation under the Department of Internal Affairs.
Annual reports to Charities Services can be viewed here
Please note: Annual Reports on this website will refer to ‘Destiny Rescue’ – Child Rescue’s name in New Zealand until August 2017.