January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US. It’s a day dedicated to spreading awareness and expanding the fight against the persistent and widespread horror of human trafficking and modern slavery in our world.
The Salvation Army is fighting this plague all around the globe—and today we’re highlighting one particularly moving story, in Manila, Philippines.
Bethany Children’s Home (BCH) is a safe haven for girls (aged 5-17) who have survived some of the most cruel and horrifying experiences of trafficking and abuse. Through BCH, The Salvation Army’s onsite personnel has committed to providing not just a long-term housing solution for the endangered children, but a family, dedicated to loving and caring for girls long after they turn 18.
Join us by sharing with the hashtags #EndHumanTrafficking and #HumanTraffickingAwareness.
Below is a transcript of the video, edited for readability.
Jennie De La Cruz: Cyber Trafficking…there is a live streaming of exploitation.
Usually family members are the facilitators of the crime. Their mothers, their fathers, even their grandparents. They’re selling their own daughters. They’re the ones who do the videos. Can you imagine how a father or mother facilities that act? So that it will become more satisfying to those pedophiles?
Philippines is known as the hotspot of this cyber trafficking. Survivors of cyber trafficking, at first it is very difficult, because they don’t believe that they were victims, but rather of help to their family, in augmenting the poverty that they experience. It is so devastating to think of those realities.
Bethany Children’s Home is a residential care facility, catering [to] children in need of special protection, particularly girls, aged 5 to 17 years old. Our clientele are survivors of different kinds of abuses. They are here for protection, and at the same time, for their healing and recovery.
Ideally, a family is a place where you can feel safe. A family is a place where you can be protected. But the abuse happened within family members. So that’s why, Bethany Children’s Home, we really want them to feel that even though we are not blood related, we can care for you, we can value you, we can prepare you for a life God really wanted us to enjoy. At present, we have 23 kids within the residential facility, and we have aftercare of 10 girls in the community.
Witnessing a child giving her testimony in court…it’s very difficult. The child will be asked to describe the incident. And in tears. In tears, the child able to say so. There is a mixed feelings, because the perpetrators are their loved ones. And at the same time, it is a time wherein they feel they have the justice they’ve been working to for a long time.
I even experienced a child telling me, “I don’t know you. You are not my family.” “How could you say that you care for us?” You can see how you will be challenged, and how to, piece by piece, mend those brokenness.
It’s really difficult if you are not a trauma informed care service provider. I’ve been a caregiver for 16 years. My passion was being developed in this kind of ministry. How God is going to use your life, to be a vessel of change to a certain person, specifically these vulnerable ones.
You know, it’s not just a matter that the child is being safe. It’s that the child is able to feel that, “I am safe,” and “I am loved and valued.” Although it’s challenging, always look on the end result of it. A life that is still fulfilling, a life that is free from fear, a life that is free from anger. A transformed person. A transformed child, from being broken, into being whole again.
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