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All Posts in Child Trafficking Prevention

September 20, 2019 - No Comments!

ZOE Australia: Geography Curriculum

In September, ZOE Australia updated their Year 10 Geographies of Human Wellbeing curriculum in order to give it out for free to teachers at the annual GTAV (Geography Teachers Association of Victoria) conference – held at the Exhibition Centre in Melbourne.

Sharon (ZOE Australia Office Manager) and Andrea (Thailand field worker) were both so happy with the result of handing the curriculum to 100 different Geography teachers from schools all over the state, as well as hearing many positive comments from teachers who were already using it in their schools.

The lesson plans are based on a case study of a Burmese girl who was forced to work in a begging ring. Students follow her story from her kidnap in Myanmar through her experiences in Thailand and her eventual repatriation with her family. This is based on an actual case although some of the details have been changed to protect the girl’s identity.

This unit examines the different concepts and measures of human wellbeing, and the causes of global differences in these measures between countries. Students explore spatial differences in wellbeing within and between countries, and evaluate the differences from a variety of perspectives.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in also obtaining this FREE curriculum for your class or school, please email Sharon at info@zoefoundation.org.au to make sure you have access to our latest updated version!

“Geography, when well taught, allows students to understand their world, and especially how the human and physical environments interact. It is this understanding that will allow them to see and shape their future – to find ways to come to grips with future challenges.”
(An excerpt from Tim Costello's Inspirational Address at the GTAV Annual Conference)

September 19, 2019 - No Comments!

Elephant Mascot

It's hard not to smile when you see a mascot. And ZOE's new elephant mascot is hard to ignore. Being introduced at schools to catch the attention of children during trafficking awareness and education outreaches, this guy certainly did his job well!

Some months ago the team from America, who just visited this month, wanted to do something special to help ZOE’s prevention efforts during their time here. Various ideas were discussed: brochures, making a beautiful backdrop with our hotline number on it, and more. And as the details for a backdrop were being thrown around, the idea came up - what about a mascot? It was agreed that having a mascot would be more effective and engaging for students and so the planning began.

After researching mascot vendors, someone was found who designed and produced high quality mascots. Two of ZOE’s Child Rescue Team went to try on many different animal mascots and then took a vote with the rest of the team for the choice of animal. Wanting to select an animal that represented Thailand, an elephant was agreed upon. The runner ups were a pig, tiger, and panda! Finally the cute elephant mascot arrived just two days prior to the August outreaches.  

Students held up signs with anti-trafficking messages and ZOE’s hotline number and had their photo taken with the mascot. It was very well received as the students enjoyed the mascot experience, having pictures taken, shaking hands, and even dancing with him. The only thing left to do now is to decide on a name for this lovable new addition to the ZOE team! 

September 17, 2019 - No Comments!

Go ZOE – August STM Blog

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words but I say one word is worth far more than a thousand pictures to convey the work that God is accomplishing through ZOE International in Chiang Mai, Thailand. That one word is GO!

GO! see the vision of ZOE founders Mike and Carol Hart come to life. God is working mightily through this precious couple and a dedicated team of missionaries to combat human trafficking through prevention, rescue, and restoration. While our short-term mission team did not witness the risky work of children being physically rescued from brothels and bars, we did work alongside the ZOE staff and students to educate teens in two Karen hill tribe village schools about ways traffickers trap young people into this growing form of slavery. We did see restoration taking place daily in the youth living at ZOE through an education that equips for life on earth and for eternity. We did see young Thai adults enrolled in a Leadership Training program mentoring those recently rescued. Go see for yourself the power of God at work.

GO! see the Holy Spirit penetrate the hearts of children as they boldly worship Jesus with their whole being, as they lovingly serve those around them, as they gain self-respect and control over their lives for the first time. Go see for yourself how these children who were once abused, lost and alone, come to embody Jesus’ command to love God with heart, mind, and soul and to love others as they love themselves.

GO! see long-term missionaries equipped with every needed skill from all over the world work together in love and unity because each is serving the same Lord. There is a spirit of humility, respect, and love that permeates the entire ministry. The grace and mercy received from God is poured out in spades on these precious little ones. Go see for yourself people who love God go to the far corners of the earth to spread the Good News.

GO! see how the missionaries and Thai workers together have developed a sustainable campus that includes its own water system, a state-of-the-art pig farm, and gardens that provide for 300-500 meals each day. See how a grant from the U.S. funded a shop that allows students to learn life skills of carpentry, welding, and mechanics.

GO! see how God will open your eyes, your ears, your hands, put wings to your feet and thereby change your heart. Our team of 26 short-term missionaries from all over the U.S. were each stretched out of our individual comfort zones but bonded together as the body of Christ, equipped to accomplish more than anyone of us imagined possible. We each went to serve others but ended up being served by those individuals. Go see for yourself how all things are possible with God.  

As for me, as I head back home with a renewed dedication to serve boldly, humbly, and faithfully wherever God has me. I am but one person but because Jesus Christ lives in me, I am perfectly equipped to do His work so I look forward to being involved as ZOE International extends into Japan, Australia, and Los Angeles. When Jesus says "go,” I go. 

GO ZOE! GO GOD!

Written by Nancy Shaw

August 27, 2019 - No Comments!

OEM Summer 2019 STM

By Christian Cha

It has been weeks since we have said “Goodbye,” to Thailand; but everyday I am reminded of my experience there. 

My experience is beyond human intellect and beyond human emotions. What I can only utter out of my mouth are these three words: God is good. He is so good to the point where I cannot fathom how good He is. I think about this trip and how good He is. I think about my past mistakes, and yet, He has been good. I think about my future and what endless possibilities that are ahead of me, and I continue to say that He is good. More specifically, this trip taught me that God is a good, good father; nothing - not even one precious moment - is ever wasted. I think about this trip, and I am always reminded that His goodness has been and will always be present in our lives. 

This trip would not have had this big of an impact on me if it was not for ZOE. Because of ZOE, they have made me fall in love with Thailand. They made me fall in love with Thailand because they made me see how God is making a beautiful masterpiece. 

With a lot of sweat and tears, the OEM team had that opportunity to truly experience lives radically transformed by God’s awesome and amazing power. Within a week, OEM and ZOE did five outreaches and over two hundred people gave their lives to Jesus Christ. What was special was that there were no sermons or evangelistic events involved. With the help of her K-pop students, Junhee Park - one of the top choreographers in Korea - was able to touch many hearts by her testimony and how God placed her where she is today. Because she came from a Buddhist background, the kids related to her story and most of them ended up making the best decision of their lives. After reaching over two hundred young children, how can one not say that God is good?

ZOE has made a tremendous impact not only in my life but in the lives of the other OEM team members. Towards the end of the trip, our last debrief meeting was filled with thankfulness and joy as each member shared his/her favorite memory with the kids, the lesson he/she learned, and how the trip impacted them on a personal and spiritual level. Myself included, the OEM team did not feel like they were a blessing to the ZOE community, but were instead blessed by ZOE - the children, the Leadership Training students, and the staff. The memories with ZOE are implanted in our minds.

It was excruciating to say our goodbyes after such an eventful and extremely fun time we had. When I go back to college, I have to think about what I could possibly do to further support ZOE in the work that they are doing. The most obvious answer is prayer. Prayer is the way for me to treasure the memories and present them at God’s feet. However, that is not the only answer. I have three years left of college, and I will not waste them. I need to be equipped to be His vessel, His hands and feet, if I am to return to Thailand. 

It may be impossible for us to save the world with our own hands, but if we let our Master take care of the impossible, He will make it possible. That is our heavenly Father. Let God take the wheel, and we will end up in places we have never imagined going.

August 27, 2019 - No Comments!

Night Outreach in Japan

The night starts off by going to an area in the outer parts of Tokyo called Machida. We target specific areas in Machida known for the sex business. 

As we approach, there are many women standing outside on a particular street. The first group of women we see are high school girls. After initially greeting them, we talk about human trafficking. The girls quickly engage in deep conversation, receive our information card, and even thank us for doing this ministry. How precious it is to see open hearts. We knew it would be a night to remember.

While the entire night is extremely rewarding, it is not all positive. Many people who are passing by ignore, reject, and avoid any conversation with us. Doing what is right and speaking the truth in love isn’t something that is always accepted by everyone, but this is what God calls us to do, and our strength and acceptance comes from Him! 

Something else miraculous happens around 30 minutes into the outreach. At that moment, some women walk past us. They are not Japanese and initially try to avoid us because they think we are trying to convert them into a religion, but that quickly changes. They even apologize after hearing that we are there to create awareness around human trafficking. One woman asks, “What do you mean by human trafficking?” Using the cards we were handing out, we begin to talk about “pornography.” They quickly look at each other and the youngest woman says, “I think I need a few of those cards please.” They are very interested to learn about ZOE and know exactly what we are talking about the moment we mention sex trafficking in Machida. We believe this is a divine contact to help people who are entrapped by trafficking and give them hope!

Even if one person is eventually prevented from being trafficked by the night’s work, the job would be well worth it!  

As the night progresses, we hit sections of Machida that are known as love hotel streets. We see many women standing right outside these hotels. Their “job” is to stand there and wait for men to negotiate prices for sexual massages and sex. None of the women we see there are Japanese, but all of them are from other Asian countries. 

We are cautious in our interaction with these women as their manager may get upset with them for talking with us. The women could get punished for engaging with those who are not potential customers. So we make ourselves available to talk if they want to. 

From this outreach, we see signs that human trafficking may be happening in many parts of our own city. The battle lines are being drawn and we believe God will show us much, much more. The reality is that there is much more than meets the eye. 

God calls us the light of the world. The ladies we talked to this night could be in the darkest possible place, but that is exactly where we need to go and shine His light. Please join us in prayer and support ZOE Japan missionaries as we continue to serve in Japan.

May 29, 2019 - No Comments!

Food and Football

ZOE Thailand
CHF - Mercy Network

ZOE Thailand continues to partner with Children’s Hunger Fund to bring food and support to communities in different parts of Thailand.  Recently on a trip to Isaan, Thailand, which sits southeast of Chiang Mai, our team was able to distribute 800 boxes of food and met with and encouraged the pastors in this area.

One of our team shares that the most meaningful part of the trip is being able to listen to the testimonies of the pastors who are using these food boxes.  

We hear story after story of how the boxes are not only providing food for families but that through this they are able to build relationships of trust.  This then leads to many conversations about faith and God. People are becoming believers because of the gospel and because they see God’s love and mercy in action through receiving these food boxes.

In Ubon, one pastor had the idea to do a community outreach football (soccer) event.  Many people were able to hear about Jesus and one family came to faith and is now attending his church.

Please pray for our team as they continue traveling to different parts of Thailand to continue the important work of REACHING EVERY PERSON.  Please pray for the pastors and community leaders we work with as they continue to love and care for those around them.

May 21, 2019 - No Comments!

Striking Contrasts

ZOE Japan

It was twenty years ago that I visited Japan. A sensory overload of magical sights and sounds - I can still picture it vividly to this day: the bustling cities, quiet temples, bright cherry blossoms and the breathtaking mountain views from bullet train rides.

It was in Japan that I first learnt how to use chopsticks properly and, whilst in Kyoto, I developed a love of okonomiyaki (a meal I still enjoy with my own family).

In Japan, I experienced unforgettable teppanyaki performances with chefs who did egg tricks and I even attended a sumo wrestling match one night. I saw people in the street wearing geta and had my photo taken with young people in the (mind-blowing) Harajuku fashion district.

Japan felt populated yet orderly, traditional yet extremely modern. It was a place of striking contrasts.

As part of a group of travelling teachers, I visited Japanese schools and saw many famous sights, but also had the opportunity to visit someone’s home and take a peek into a-day-in-the-life of a local person.

With opposing emotions, we soaked in the beauty of places like the golden temple, while tears flooded at seeing the devastation whilst visiting the memorial museum in Hiroshima.

From the simulated earthquake experience, to the Japanese baths - this trip blew my mind in so many ways!

As an outsider, what I didn’t see then, and what I didn’t even know existed, was the dark and hidden pain associated with the child trafficking scene in Japan.  

Because it is not driven by targeting poor communities, like in many other countries, child trafficking looks different in Japan.

Japan is a destination, source, and transit country for men and women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking, and for children subjected to sex trafficking” – Trafficking In Persons Report 2018

Hiromi and Yuri are ZOE’s on-the-ground missionaries in Japan. Here is an excerpt from Japan’s Needs are Unique where they share about the situation in their country.

Japan’s human trafficking problem is made up of sophisticated and organized prostitution networks that target vulnerable Japanese girls in public areas such as subways, popular youth hangouts, schools, and online.

Due to pressure from their parents to be successful or conform, traffickers prey on children who are craving love and affection. Traffickers camouflage themselves to be a scouting agent for modeling jobs, and sometimes even a potential boyfriend/girlfriend. Before a child realizes it,he/she is victimized to appear on various pornography outlets and forced to do other sexual services. They are in bondage to the trafficker who places on them an unreasonable debt and vows not to release him/her until the debt is paid. They also know all of the child’s information, including parents, friends, school, etc.

Japan is a country that is economically blessed and our physical and material needs are always taken care of, but the voice of children crying out for love and affection is drowned out by the noise of parents and society.

One thing we can all do for the children of Japan is PRAY!  Needs are great in Japan. Not necessarily physical or material needs, but spiritual need is crucial. This is why ZOE is passionate about doing prevention work in Japan through sharing the love of God in Christ. We believe that we can make a huge difference and bring light to children’s lives through Jesus.

ZOE Japan’s main goal right now is to prevent trafficking through education in churches, schools, and communities by bringing awareness about the problem in Japan.

Prevention is part of ZOE’s long term solution to ending trafficking worldwide.