After 14 years in the fight against child trafficking we have learned a few things about caring for children who have suffered at the hands of human traffickers. When we first began rescuing children in Thailand, our rescues were considered prevention rescues. In other words, we rescued children before they were trafficked. These children were highly at risk because of their circumstances: orphaned, extreme poverty, drug addicted parents, on the market to be sold and other heartbreaking situations. These precious children had multiple trauma issues to deal with and our staff did an incredible job pouring the love of God out and ushering these children in to a place of restoration in their lives.
As the years went by and ZOE became more established in Thailand we began working closely with law enforcement. This led to a different type of rescue: intervention rescues. Now we were rescuing children who had been trafficked! These children brought a whole new level of trauma issues with them. We quickly learned that they were not able to adapt easily into family life at our children’s home. To better serve these children who needed intensive care we rented a couple of small houses in undisclosed locations in Thailand. These became our safe houses where children first go when rescued from a human trafficking situation. Here they receive all the care and attention they need to feel safe and loved so their healing process can begin. Not all the children who come to our safe houses go to our children’s home but those who do are slowly bridged into ZOE Children’s Homes – Thailand where their healing journey continues in the loving care of a ZOE family unit.
By God’s grace and mercy we have seen many children healed and restored through this process. Children are supported and surrounded with a team of loving people who desire the best possible outcome for each child: to thrive in life and never to be trafficked again. As we begin our journey of caring for children who have been trafficked right here in the United States we will use the lessons learned in Thailand and set up a similar process.
Because systems are different in the USA our methods will be similar but different. Most children who are rescued from trafficking are not ready to enter into a “normal” family life. They need time to heal and to feel safe enough to trust again. ZOE Children’s Homes – Los Angeles (ZCHLA) will provide that moment for children and become the equivalent to our safe houses in Thailand. Children will come to ZCHLA initially to receive the care and attention they need to feel safe and loved and begin their healing journey. Simultaneously ZOE will work with Safe Harbor Family Services in training families in trauma informed care to equip them to care for the children who will come into their home from ZCHLA. These families, with the support of their local church, will become part of a team of people who love these children back to life so they can thrive and never be trafficked again.
If you want to learn more about becoming a foster parent or our trauma informed care training please consider joining us on September 24th for an introductory meeting. For more info contact Betsy by email or call her at 661-255-7963.