NOW RESTORING LIVES!
Our Challenge began November 22, 2014. For nine days, we challenged you to help us fight human trafficking by shopping at Family Christian and donating to the cause. Our goal was to raise $150,000 to help our ministry partner, Destiny Rescue, start their program in the Dominican Republic. Over those nine days, we raised $166,556—God was so good.
Now the safe house is finished, and Destiny Rescue’s program is fully operational! Toward the end of March, they began restoring and caring for abused and vulnerable victims of the human trafficking trade, working to advance the cause of justice in Jesus’ name.
Will you please pray for the safety of children who are in need of their help, as well as Destiny Rescue’s team as they work to protect more children enslaved in trafficking?
Thank you for helping raise two years of operating funds for Destiny Rescue’s program in the Dominican Republic. We appreciate your support and hope to share more updates with you soon.
Below are photos of the safe house!
Destiny Rescue is a grassroots, internationally recognized, Christian-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing children from human trafficking and sexual exploitation. They currently operate their program in five nations: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and India.
Destiny Rescue has rescued, restored, protected and empowered hundreds of children enslaved around the world. God’s now called them to be a voice for the voiceless in the Dominican Republic.
Here is why we’re focusing our efforts in the Dominican Republic:
- Every month, 800 Haitian children are trafficked into the Dominican Republic
- Country is ranked 4th in the world for exportation of women into the sex trade
- Large numbers of Dominican women and children are subject to sex trafficking
- Country has the highest rate of human trafficking in the Caribbean.
What happens after rescue? More than 90% of rescued children will find love and safety in Destiny Rescue Homes. Depending on the circumstances, the remaining children will either return to their families, enter a government funded home or are placed in aftercare homes.
ENSLAVED. ABUSED. HELPLESS. RESCUED. A PLACE TO CALL HOME.
At the age of 15, when she was rescued and came to a Destiny Rescue safe house, Sophy had already survived more than any child should be subjected to ever; and, her life reflected it. Betrayed by her mother’s wanton lifestyle and raised by her grandmother, she grew up dealing with the shame of her background and wishing she had a mother and a father who loved her. One night she was savagely gang-raped by boys in her neighborhood...
Risky behaviors place minors at risk
That incident marked the beginning of a descent into behaviors that placed her at risk for being targeted by traffickers on the lookout for young girls to supply Cambodia’s sex trade. She became a runaway after attempts (by Destiny Rescue) to rehabilitate her and successfully reintegrate her back into her family.
A former teacher found her, weaseled himself into her trust and promised her a good job with decent pay in Phnom Penh. Only, when he delivered her to the “good job,” it turned out to be a KTV (karaoke) bar, and the only significant money that exchanged hands was between the KTV owner and her teacher. She had been sold into the sex trade.
Horrific acts perpetrated on sexually trafficked minors
From then on Sophy’s job was to “entertain” men. When she became pregnant, her owner forced her to take an oral pill to abort her baby, then forced her to continue working, even as her body convulsed in the spasms of induced abortion. “Sometimes I wanted to kill myself; but when I wanted to kill myself I felt someone was stopping me, but I didn’t know who.”
After being rescued by Destiny Rescue rescuers, Sophy says, she knew who had stopped her from taking her own life. “It was God,” she says, adding, “Even though I wanted to escape [from my family] I know Jesus found me and brought me back to Destiny Rescue.”
Love conquers all
And, what became of that naughty, rude, prone-to-fight, self-centered girl? “The big sisters were patient with me and still loved me, even though I was so naughty. They were patient, like Jesus; they gave me gentle advice and were not strict with me.” And, her most touching statement: “Because I received love, I want to share that love with other girls.”
Deep rage consumed La, set off by the slightest thing. Unable to process the abuse that had been inflicted on her, she lashed out at others. Fist fights and brawls gave expression to her locked away pain. She didn’t cry.
Her Old Story
La began work when she was very young—she became a waitress in a karaoke bar. The transition to sex work was stunningly quick and simple. Like most childhood rape victims, she lost her own will with frightening predictability. Being violently raped multiple times caused a death inside this beautiful girl; she submitted to sex work like the living dead.
La soon walked down the well-worn path from prostitution to drug addiction, hiding her pain in the numbness offered by opiates.
Her descent quickened. She became involved with a syndicate of very evil and powerful men. She was now playing with the big boys; she had a habit, they had the gear. Her annihilation was now almost complete; the syndicate of men had gained complete control over her through ownership spawned by her need for drugs and their brutal force.
She became their plaything, but the games they played were torturous. She was bound nightly, from her neck to her ankles. Stripped of all clothing the bonds were wound around and around her. She was a captive, completely powerless to protect herself against the clutching, groping hands of the men that bid for her.
She was paraded before the leering men each night. The bonds so tight around her legs that she could only hobble-the men laughed. The auction proceeded every night. The deal was the highest bidder could do whatever he wanted with her-anything. Fear choked at her. She never knew which man would be the one to finally kill her. Sometimes she prayed they would.
She did not cry or scream. She stayed silent before the probing and pushing, the filthy insults. Hatred was her shield, her anger like a tightly-closed fist grabbing to hold on to any shred of sanity. Each night she listened to the men laugh uproariously as they talked about what they would do to her if their bid won.
Her New Life
La was rescued.
La, one of the most beautiful girls who ever came to Destiny Rescue, and one of the most deeply and disturbingly broken, has fresh hope and new eyes to see the future.
Her journey to restoration was slow as she pushed through her grief and shocking anger. But she made it. She let go of her hatred and pain, and it unwound its debilitating hold on her mind and heart. Fear lessened and gradually the ingredients of a new life were poured into her—education, goals and even dreams.
La reached out to a God who understood humiliation and suffering, and received profound freedom into her heart and mind. He redeemed her past and she now experiences his unconditional love and warm embrace.
Today La is thriving. She is close to achieving all the goals that she set for herself for the year. It is a true miracle to see someone come from slavery to freedom, from utter torment to peace and happiness.
A large family. Extreme poverty. A cultural norm that heaves responsibility for support of the family upon children. This is the life Chan was born into, child number seven of nine. At best, life in the rural provinces of Cambodia can be hard, even brutal. It’s even harder when a family can find no sustainable means for earning a subsistence living.
Though Chan’s family tried to keep their nine children in school, by the time Chan reached the sixth grade she was forced by their poverty to find a job making baskets to contribute to her family’s income. Still, it was not enough, and by the age of 15 she left her provincial home, city-bound with only a sixth-grade education, in search of a “better” job. For two years she worked in a factory making shoes and sending the majority of her meager earnings home to her family.
The streets of Phnom Penh are rife with commercial sex establishments, places where young women, boys and girls are sold by the hour to entertain patrons, both foreign sex tourists and local Cambodian nationals. It wasn’t difficult for Chan to find a job. Her petite frame and shy smile were exactly what the pimps and mama-sans look for in these places.
A Destiny Rescued—A Life Restored
After a period of time working in a KTV bar, Chan didn’t take long to consider Destiny Rescue’s offer of sanctuary. With little more than the clothes on her back and some makeup, she moved into the aftercare facility where she began to thrive. Under the loving care of her house sisters and the friendship of fellow rescued girls, she now has hope for a brighter future, something she could not envision in her former life.
Today, Chan has many hopes and dreams, including finishing school, opening her own beauty salon and even traveling. She is an active girl who likes to play many sports like basketball, tennis and volleyball. In her free time she enjoys listening to country and romance music, and would love to learn to play guitar. Chan is a diligent learner and enjoys studying Khmer and mathematics as well as practicing her English. Her desire is to assist in supporting her siblings’ education to help provide a better future for each of them.
Viray’s mother sold her for the first time when she was nine years old. She was helpless to fight back when forced to perform domestic duties seldom required even of an adult, and then beaten when she could not meet the demands of her new family. She was helpless to fight back when the father first started to molest her, which then led to rape. Repeatedly. “It seemed like they bought me so that he would have something to use,” she recalls. Viray ran away, back to her mother for protection. But she was met by a new stepfather who continued the violent beatings. Then, he sold her again.
To be sold once is unthinkable. Twice is outrageous. Viray was sold and re-sold, used as a sex slave “many times.” Each time she tried to return to her mother–the one person in the world who should protect her–she was disappointed. Her mother would not protect her; perhaps she could not.
Hopeless, desperate and with no one to come to her aid, Viray attempted several times and in several ways to take her own life. After her last attempt to kill her pain by drinking rat poison, her grandfather intervened, and, ultimately, she came under the safe haven of Destiny Rescue.
Tenderly, gradually, restoration of a broken soul begins
How does one begin the restorative process with a young girl who has suffered as Viray has suffered? Physically, her frail body was wracked with disease from being used as a sex slave and the after effects of drinking poison. Emotionally, she was broken, left with memory loss indicative of her past. Psychologically, she had come to believe she was of no more value than a piece of meat. Socially, she had developed unhealthy practices as she sought affirmation.
Distrust of others and self-hatred were just two of the many scars Viray tried unsuccessfully to hide. So, inviting her into a trusting relationship with her counselor was perhaps the first hurdle. With patience, understanding, and skill, over time Viray grew strong enough to be reintegrated into a family situation that her counselor and social worker determined to be safe and healthy: with her loving grandparents. Destiny Rescue social workers will continue follow-up for a period of time, until they are assured that Viray is making progress in her long journey of healing.
Viray’s courageous choice
The following statement is a testament to Viray’s restoration and new life of freedom: “I know my mum did many bad things on me, but I want to say thank you that she brings me to this world. I still love my mum.”
Disclaimer: To ensure the protection and safety of all Rescue Children, Destiny Rescue has changed certain details of their stories and their names.