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.

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