All Posts in Child Rescue

September 14, 2016 - No Comments!

The Courage to Run

Prayers were answered in a mighty way recently when a 13-year-old girl had the courage to run away from a brothel.  She contacted authorities and gave them pictures of other girls who were still being held in the brothel.

ZOE Child Rescue (ZCR) was called along with other NGO’s (non-government organizations.) ZOE traveled 14 hours to Northern Thailand. Along with government authorities, ZOE helped create a plan to raid a Karaoke bar which they knew had the girls from the brothel inside.

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July 20, 2015 - No Comments!

A Classic Case of Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking Story

It’s a textbook case of human trafficking: deception, a network of handlers, border crossing, imprisonment, forced labor, debt servitude, threats, and abuse.

Five daughters shared a one-room house with their parents. Things were tight. A woman from another village visited numerous times to persuade the family to send the 15-year-old girl to Bangkok for a good job.

Soon, the girl (we’ll call her Deng) found herself at a border camp teeming with refugees. Walking through the forest for miles by only moonlight, she was smuggled across the border into Thailand. Deng was transported to a small town and taken to a factory ringed with razor-topped fencing. It was then she was told she must pay a hefty “transportation fee.”

Put to work immediately, Deng was forced to finish her daily quota, which meant she often worked from 4 a.m. until midnight. Accommodations with another girl consisted of a bare room with a thin floor mat. She was paid 215 baht a month ($6.35). The rest of her pay went toward paying off her transportation debt.

When ZOE received the call, a raid was coordinated. A special unit of 25 officers from the Bangkok Anti-Human Trafficking Division Police was called in because the factory was owned by a prominent figure in town and we did not want to compromise the raid by the word leaking out. A raid and arrests! Subsequently, Deng testified and one human trafficker was sentenced to prison.

ZOE traveled to Deng’s home country to meet her family and ensure it was safe to repatriate Deng.  Later, ZOE escorted Deng back to her overjoyed family.

Although ZOE operates a state-of-the art aftercare facility for human trafficking victims, not every child we rescue comes to our home. In fact, our preferred and primary goal is to reunite children with loving and responsible family members whenever possible.

July 6, 2015 - No Comments!

Protection for Children in Danger

ZOE Child Rescue Protects Children

Our ZOE Child Rescue (ZCR) team is constantly taking calls, participating in investigations, making assessments, and following up with families. The children we rescue from human trafficking come from all different types of backgrounds and there is no one solution that works for every child. One child may do best back with her relatives while another child has no family or would not be safe with her family and it is best for her to come to ZOE. Our goal is to find the solution that is best for each individual child. 

An example of this is a call we received about a girl who was in danger of being abducted and abused by a perpetrator in her community. Her caregiver filed a report with the police, but unfortunately the perpetrator was granted bail and he escaped to the border. He threatened the child and those who cared for her that he would come back and take her. Because of his history of drug abuse and murder charges, his threats needed to be taken seriously.  

After government officials did their investigation, they determined the child was not safe living in this community. We then conducted our own follow-up investigation and decided to bring her to ZOE because she was highly at risk. At first, it was hard for her to be away from her family, but she quickly adapted to life at ZOE while we provided her the protection she needed.

Whether it is a child who has been trafficked or a child who is in danger of being trafficked, ZOE continues to provide protection for children in danger...for as long as they need.

"Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me
On and on and on and on it goes……"  - Jesus Culture

February 16, 2015 - No Comments!

The Boy Who Cried Out To God

The story below is true, but the name has been changed to protect our child's identity and dignity.

Considering that the U.S. State Department estimates that 2 million children are enslaved in the global commercial sex trade, it would be all too easy to throw up our hands and say “What can I do?” But if we instead reach out with those same hands to help one child at a time, we will make a difference!  Bpet’s is one life that we have had the privilege of touching through ZOE.

Bpet, age 12, worked at a locked-down brothel where he was forced to have sex with men multiple times a day.  He never left the brothel and the only time he was allowed outside was to go into a small courtyard enclosed with high walls where he could get some fresh air.

One night, during a break, Bpet stood outside looking up at the stars shining in the dark night sky. He shouted to the sky “Is there a God?! Is this my life? Do you see what is happening to me?!  If there is a God, why don’t You help me?!”

The very next day, ZOE’s Child Rescue Team, along with police, raided the brothel and rescued Bpet.  When Bpet recounted his story to us, he was convinced that it was no coincidence that he was rescued the day after he cried out to God.

Please join with us in crying out to God for the rescue of boys and girls who are enslaved in human trafficking! If you want to help ZOE as we continue searching for and finding trafficking victims, please donate here.

February 3, 2015 - 1 comment.

Find The Children, Part 2

Read Part 1 of this story here if you missed it yesterday

So armed with my orders, a quick pulse, and a smirk, I strutted back to my office to work on my master plan.  I’ll cut to the chase and point out the operative word in that last statement.  “My.”  It didn’t take long, only a week, before I came to the hard conclusion that I have very little to offer this fight.  After waking up at 3AM a few consecutive mornings, I got the hint from God that in my planning I was defaulting to “my” plan and what “I” can offer.  I failed to totally submit my plan to Jesus for direction and counsel.  Thank you Jesus for 3AM epiphanies!  Very early this morning I re-identified with a few things I had forgotten. 

1) Jesus’ fierce intentionality to rescue his own.  John Eldridge taught me this in his book, Beautiful Outlaw.  My orders were already carried out perfectly 2000 years ago and I first need to learn from the Master, Jesus, as to how he submitted to His Father for the ultimate battle plan.

2) The battle of rescuing children is not of this world.  Ephesians 6:12, reminded me that, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  I had forgotten this for a time.  In constructing my plan I concentrated on my abilities and strayed from seeking the answers in God’s Word. 

These realizations came to me like the easing of a painful injury.  I so needed Jesus to show me the dangerous path of defaulting to my abilities instead of claiming His victory of an already won battle. 

Armed with this truth I am now ready to sit at the Master’s feet and listen.  I now can see Jesus smiling as He says, “Ready to follow Me? Now let’s go make a plan to find My children…”


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February 2, 2015 - No Comments!

Find The Children, Part 1

written by our Director of Child Rescue

I’ve received orders before.  If there’s one thing I know how to do is follow orders.  The Marine Corps instilled that discipline in me and it was refined by twenty years in law enforcement.  But something in these words that I received from ZOE Co-Founder, Carol Hart has been ringing in my ears like no other orders before. 

It wasn’t just the words that were said to me, it was the passion behind the words that struck me.  I immediately identified with Carol’s heart as she gave me my orders.  “Find the children.”  It wasn’t a demand or a suggestion.  It was a passionate plea. 

I received these words in a ZOE Child Rescue vision casting meeting as my new position as Director of Child Rescue was discussed and shaped.  It’s been almost a week since the meeting and it’s as if the echo of these words is still resounding in my head. 

During this meeting we were outlining my duties and exploring where God wants to take ZOE Child Rescue in 2015.  Nothing of what was discussed was a surprise to me.  I knew why I was accepted by ZOE: to find and rescue children enslaved in labor and sex trafficking – no surprises here.  But now with the meeting over we were crossing the line of departure.  Now we were about to “lock and load” and start scanning the horizon for enemy activity. 

Nothing quickens my pulse more than the thought of using my experience and passion to snatch precious children from the hands of the enemy and place them into loving hands at ZOE.  Hands that will give them love, truth, and a chance for redemption.  I guess there’s something in every disciple that yearns for these type of orders – orders to engage the enemy to win back what was stolen from the Kingdom.  That which Jesus purchased by the cross is precious to us.  And what is more precious than the purity and innocence of children?

Make sure to check back tomorrow for the conclusion of this story. If you want to receive notification of new blog posts, fill out the form below.

December 22, 2014 - No Comments!

Rescued Girl Hears Christmas Story For First Time

Story told by Andrea Cross, Missionary in Thailand at ZOE Children's Homes

She looks up at me and smiles, her eyes full of life,  “Where should I hang this one mum?”  As I look at the decoration in my daughter's hand, it takes me back to when it arrived in Thailand in a box full of tinsel, balls and ornaments from some friends in Australia. Wreaths and home made crafts are hung from door handles around the house. And with the flick of a switch the Christmas tree lights glisten brightly in the living room.

Christmas was definitely on its way!

At about the same time, in a different home, down the road… just 20 minutes away, stands another little girl, the same age as my daughter.

This little girl also has a cute smile that immediately lights up the room as she enters.

As she looks up at her ZOE mother, she is hearing about Christmas for the very first time. 

“But I don’t understand” she murmurs intrigued, eyes wide.  “Tell me more.”

And as she asks her new parents to explain more about this Jesus and His amazing love, I wonder, “Where was she last Christmas morning as I sat cross-legged on the floor in pajamas, hair in a messy bun, laughing and passing presents, sipping hot cocoa and reading the story of the first Christmas with my children in the safety of our home?” 

“Where was this little girl?”

Sadly, I find out that she was rescued while wandering the bustling city streets.  She came to our attention after a report of a man who was working in the sex industry and who had a little girl with him. She was highly at risk in an extremely vulnerable situation, being put in places children should never be.

Even after years of hearing about these scenarios, it is hard to think about.  My mind just doesn’t want to go there and consider what this young girl has been exposed to…

Now, after having been at ZOE for only a short time, this precious girl’s new family is amazed at how quickly she has adapted to her new home.

With so many questions and with Christmas fast approaching, the excitement is building as she learns that the God who loves her has an amazing plan for her future.

We are so thankful for your support of ZOE!  When there is no relative or anyone else to care for a child, they come to ZOE to be loved and kept safe.

From the youngest child to the oldest among us, the Christmas message remains consistent: peace, joy, hope!  And, of course, for the children at ZOE that means LIFE!

November 4, 2013 - No Comments!

Through the Eyes of Another

I want to share a story about a man I saw a few weeks ago in the Emergency Room of our hospital.  This man came into the ER after overdosing on his psychiatric medications, saying he wanted to kill himself.  I asked him why he did it, and he started telling me about his life.  He told how, at age 4, his mom put his hands over the stove and turned on the fire and burned them, because he took some candy before dinner without permission.  Then he ended up in foster care, where he was sexually abused and molested by his foster dad and uncle for the next five years. They would take him upstairs, tie him to the bed and abuse him over and over. He said he bled so much, they would have to stitch him up, but then they’d do it over and over again.

It finally stopped when he tried to kill himself at school by tying a jump rope around his neck and jumping off the monkey bars.  He was 9 years old.  After this incident he was sent to a group home where he was abused and bullied.  Again, he tried running away and killing himself.  As an adult, he’s tried hanging himself multiple times, shooting himself in the head (he still has the bullet lodged in his head), and setting himself on fire (his chest is all scarred and burned). He even ingested gasoline and jumped off a freeway overpass.  He said he knew he wasn’t going to die by overdosing on pills, but if he kept hurting himself, it would eventually kill him.  This man has spent most of his adult life in prison or state mental hospitals, and he’s only 33 years old.

This was one of the most horrific stories I’d heard in a long time.  This man was so desperate to die, and all because he had been abused as a child and exposed to more than any person ever should ever have to experience.  I share it because it made me think about ZOE, and what ZOE does:  rescuing kids who would otherwise be forced into a life of trafficking, suffering and abuse; rescuing kids out of these situations and, by God’s grace, helping to restore their lives so that they don’t end up like this man.

I know we can’t save everyone, not here, and not in Thailand, but the little that we do can make a significant difference, even just to save one of these little ones from the horrors of what they otherwise might be forced into.ZOE-hope for children

What drives me to support ZOE and other relief aid organizations are the questions: What if I was the one born into a life of exploitation and human trafficking?  What if my parents or guardians abused/molested me?  On the other hand, what did I do to deserve being born into a middle class family that took care of me and provided love, stability, and opportunities for me?  NOTHING!  But here I am.

 ”...From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”  Luke 12:48

We are God’s solution to the world’s problems – problems created because of our sin.  And only God’s redeeming power can help us make things right.

Sign up and register for the November 9th ZOE Rescue Walk, or support a walker at ZOE Rescue Walk.  Hope to see you there!

 

September 16, 2013 - 4 comments

Reflections on Being Raised at ZOE

This past year, one of our ZOE children was getting ready to leave ZOE and attend university.  He was in the process of packing up his things and going to his new dorm room.  However, before leaving, he wanted to say goodbye to all the staff, children and missionaries.

As he said his goodbyes, he started to tell Carol Hart, our founder, what ZOE meant to him.  He said, “ZOE has given me a lot of opportunities…. a good education, a place to stay, good food, safe environment.”  This was all very important to him, but in his wildest dreams, he never thought that ZOE could ever give him something that he thought was impossible to have.  He said, “ZOE gave me a mom and dad.”  He began to weep uncontrollably as he said this in front of his ZOE mother and began to hug her.  He never thought as an orphan, he could have a mom and dad.  Today, he still calls these ZOE parents his mom and dad. He regularly keeps in contact with them and even takes the time out to come visit and help around ZOE.

This is one of the key reasons why we have experienced so much success at ZOE, because we have staff who not only consider their duties as a job, but as a lifelong calling.  These children are not merely foster children passing through, but they consider them as their own.

August 26, 2012 - No Comments!

The Low-Down On Being Back…

Many of our missionary families have returned to Thailand after being away for a 6-8 week period from their work at the ZOE Children’s Homes.

Our trips back to our home countries were filled with sharing at churches, schools, fundraising dinners, etc. about the work that ZOE does as well as taking the opportunity to thank financial supporters for their part in helping precious children in need.

It’s been so great seeing {nearly} everyone back in Thailand again and getting back into the routine of life here.

As we transition back, we have each experienced the emotional highs and lows of missing pieces of our lives back in America and Australia – especially the friends and family we’ve left behind.

But we are all here with a specific role to help care for children.

Here at ZOE we rescue and care for orphans and children who may become victims of human trafficking.  ZOE also rescues and protects children taken directly from trafficked situations where they have been misused and mistreated.

It’s life-changing stuff – for the children and for us!

I was recently reminded about some of our first reflections upon arriving in Thailand over two and a half years ago.  My husband David wrote:

“Before we came to Thailand, it was a series of statistics that compelled us to act. But now when I sit with these wonderful kids, each of the statistics suddenly has a face. It’s a face that is covered with a big smile, and their smiles are part of my every day.

“I have sat across from these smiles at meal times and shared some laughs over hot and spicy soup. Well, they laugh at me as the spices make my eyes water! They have watched me (with some curiosity) as I have sat with their house parents on the floor tasting strange-looking green things accompanied by fried animal fat! They interrupt me as I sit at my desk by standing outside my office window playing a game of peek‐a‐boo, trying to not let me see them and breaking into laughter when I do.

“Seeing them now, you could easily assume it’s always been this way, but each of their faces didn’t always have a smile. Some of these children were rescued before being trafficked; others have come directly from slavery.  All have faced incredible hardship.

Our Child Rescue Team at ZOE does a phenomenal job in ensuring that we thoroughly investigate every child’s case. We document the details and act with precision. The investigative work that Child Rescue does will help to purge our society of this evil crime.”

Since our arrival in Thailand, ZOE Children's Homes have been very active in the rescue of children.

It is never about the number of children we rescue though. It would be worth it, even for the one!

The new life these children at ZOE have is very different from where they were just weeks or months ago.

These kids have talents, just like you and me that are waiting to be discovered. Some have amazing voices and love to sing, others are gifted at art, designing things or dancing.

Only now do they get the opportunities they deserve – to go to school, to learn and to be loved.

They get a chance to make a difference in the world and make tomorrow a better day than yesterday.

I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity to help them shape their future.

I can assure you that the work here is not always easy but we have a tremendous group of staff and house parents that ensure all the children are well cared for. The ZOE staff members are strong and committed and do an absolutely amazing job.

To know their names ... see their faces ... have contact with them regularly and see their smiles.

Our life here in Thailand may have required considerable adjustment…

But is it worth it?

Absolutely!    YES!