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All Posts in Child Trafficking Prevention

April 1, 2020 - No Comments!

6 Steps to Keeping Your Child Safe Online During School Closures

With even more time at home and the increase in use of internet devices, it’s important that we help keep our children safe. If your child is using devices for online school, has a mobile device, or uses gaming systems, it’s time to have a conversation with your family about internet safety. 

Here are six practical steps you can take as a parent to help protect your child!

  1. Keep connected. It’s so important your child feels safe and connected to family members. The more connected and safe they feel with family, the more comfortable they will be to discuss issues, including issues they encounter online. In contrast, the more disconnected they feel from parents/family, things have potential to start becoming secretive, and they may seek affirmation, connection, and relationships outside of the home for that connection.

  2. Have open conversations with your child about the dangers of the internet and how to practice online safety. 
    SMART acronym is a great place to start! 
    S - Safe - Stay safe by keeping personal information private! Location, contact info, passwords etc.
    M - Meeting - Don’t meet in person with someone you met online! Tell your parents if you would like to meet with someone you met online.
    A - Accepting - Do not accept friend requests or follows from people you don’t know! Don't accept files, images, or texts from unknown senders! These could be viruses or contain inappropriate content. 
    R - Reliable - People online are not reliable, and can easily lie about who they are. It’s best to reserve your trust for people you know. If you are messaging with someone online, make sure it is someone you know!
    T - Tell - If something makes you feel uncomfortable, be sure to tell a parent or trusted adult. Parents, it’s important that if your child chooses to share something with you, that you remain a safe place, without judgement or punishment. Then together, you can report any illegal or inappropriate activity.

  3. Work together with your child to establish internet guidelines. Don’t just give a list of “don’t do this or that,” have a conversation with your child, teaching them why. You may consider signing a contract with your child about the agreed upon rules for online use. We suggest covering these topics: 
    • What apps/sites can be visited? What apps and/or sites are off limits?
    • Where can they use their devices? Should they limit their internet use to general spaces?
    • Who needs to be present when they use the internet? Do they need parental supervision?
    • When and for how long can they be on their device? Do they need to limit screen time to certain hours/times of day

  4. Utilize parental controls to help monitor and protect online activity. Regularly check posts, messages, texts, etc. This part takes a bit of research in the beginning and continued upkeep, but it is important to help our children navigate internet usage.
    To help you in the start of your search, one field staff shared, “Even though I have been working in this area for years, I recall that when we started this process, it was quite overwhelming. It takes time for you to establish guidelines, time to find software that helps show their activity, and time for you to monitor and check-in with your child…  No matter what software you use, it is not set and forget! Initially we used the free version of Qustodio to help us set up simple daily time time limits. Apple also has great parental control software.” 

  5. If you notice behavior changes in your child, such as isolating themselves, becoming secretive about their phone, or wanting to spend more time in their room with a device, ask your child what’s going on, without judgement or punishment. 

  6. If you discover your child has been interacting with a potentially dangerous person or content, don’t panic! Be a safe place for your child. Break off contact — stop talking and stop replying. Criminal activity, including explicit photos or text messages, should be saved and taken to the police for investigation. Report any illegal activity to law enforcement.

March 13, 2020 - No Comments!

Supporting Local Pastors

Through our partnership with Children’s Hunger Fund, we partner with Thai pastors to help them to reach their communities with the gospel.

One of our partners is Pastor Songkran. Songkran moved to a small village many years ago that did not have a church. He has been slowly reaching this community and the church has grown. During this time he also felt that he and his family were called to help children who didn’t have the opportunity to attend school. These are children from villages that don’t have schools and the families don’t have the money to put them into school.

Songkran and his family take in kids each year to allow them to go to school. They take on the responsibility of feeding the children and paying their school bills. This year, they have 19 children living with them. They have done all of this through faith and trusting that God will provide. This year through the donations from Usana and Children’s Hunger Fund, we were able to help Songkran.

We helped him by building and stocking two fish ponds, a frog pond, and a mushroom hut, and we planted mango trees. Songkran’s plan for the fish, frogs, mushrooms, and mangoes is well thought out. He will use a third of the produce to help feed the children living with his family. He will sell a third of the produce to help pay for the school fees for the children. He will give away the last third of the produce to those in need in his community. This is a great project to help a hardworking pastor who partners with ZOE.  

January 31, 2020 - No Comments!

Australia – Awareness

As we share about human trafficking awareness this month, we realise that many people may have false ideas or misconceptions about what human trafficking looks like. Are you aware? Do you have knowledge and understanding that human trafficking is a global epidemic? That it involves Australians? That it is happening, and exists in Australia?

Melbourne man admits sexually exploiting 47 boys in south-east Asia and Australia.

Newspaper headings like this one are alarming. In the past, slavery and trafficking offenses occurring in Australia were under-reported, but the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has recently seen a rise in referrals. According to the AFP, Australia is primarily a destination country for people trafficked from Asia, particularly Thailand, Korea, the Philippines, and Malaysia. 

While the exact figures vary, research has shown Australian men to be among the largest contributors to sex tourism in southeast Asia, with cities such as Pattaya becoming a “home away from home” for an increasing number of Australian retirees. 

More recently, reports show that Australian perpetrators have been involved in grooming children online, usually in developing countries. The Australian Federal Police is concerned that the demand for child abuse material is increasing across the country. 

“Of particular concern is the rise in instances and rates of child exploitation overseas with Australians involved(spokesman for the AFP).

"In 2014 we received about 4,500 referrals of child exploitation material and in 2015 it was 11,000." (Justine Saunders AFP Assistant Commissioner)

And even more recently it was reported that, “The United States, Britain and Australia are the main consumers of child sex abuse streamed over webcam" (spokesperson from the AFP).  

ZOE raises awareness in Australia through the media, influential voices, speaking engagements, internet communities, and encouraging student involvement. 

Our education in schools is reaching more and more young people. We are in the process of writing another trafficking curriculum unit for Australian schools this year. In September 2019, ZOE Australia released their updated version of the Year 10 Geographies of Human Wellbeing curriculum. This is a free unit of work that examines the different concepts and measures of human wellbeing, and the causes of global differences in these measures between countries. 

Please email Sharon at info@goZOE.org.au if your school would like a copy. 

Do you know what to do?

If you do suspect a case of trafficking or you see someone in danger please use the following country numbers to notify authorities:

Australian Federal Police on 131AFP (131237) or email AOCC-Client-Liaison@afp.gov.au

ZOE International, has been combating human trafficking since 2002. ZOE is active in Thailand, Japan, Australia, Mexico, and the United States.

If you are visiting this page from outside the USA, click on your country to return to the website in AustraliaThailand or Japan.

November 14, 2019 - No Comments!

Walk For Freedom: Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai recently had its first official Walk for Freedom!

ZOE was a part of the Anti-Trafficking Expo which took place after the walk. Attendants could find out about the work being done across Thailand to tackle the issue of human trafficking.

"Walk for Freedom is a global fundraising and awareness event, rallying tens of thousands of people, taking millions of steps, in hundreds of cities all over the world. We walk to disrupt the existence of slavery, shaking its very foundation with each step.

It’s an outward expression of A21’s inward desire to see slavery abolished everywhere—in our cities, in our communities, and in our world. One step at a time and one dollar at a time, we fundraise and walk to see a world without slavery.

ZOE's table at Walk for Freedom Chiang Mai

Last year, we showed up in 475 locations in 50 countries, reaching 70 million people through social media. Each step mattered. Each step made a difference." - A21

What an honor to be working alongside others in the fight to see trafficking ended. It was so encouraging that so many people turned up to walk - raising awareness and making a difference!  

October 1, 2019 - No Comments!

The Power of a Shoe

“Never underestimate the power of a shoe.”
- Giuseppe Zanotti

For some years now, Life Outreach International (LOI) has continued to support ZOE International as we work toward our mission of REACHING every person and RESCUING every child.

The funds LOI gives provides much needed resources for many of our programs. One of the biggest impacts and provision has been the ability to gift new shoes to communities in need. Our Child Trafficking Prevention team as well as our ZOE Leadership students (ZLT) do outreaches on a regular basis. When we visit communities that are disadvantaged we can bring human trafficking awareness and share the gospel, but we are also able to give every child a pair of new shoes.  

These shoes protect children from getting diseases such as hookworms or strongyloidiasis as well as protecting them from insects or snakes bikes.

“This practical help and meeting this need allows ZOE to love the poor not just in word but in deed. It has been a critical, difference maker for us as a ministry,” says ZOE Founder, Carol Hart. 

Thank you LOI! You are making a difference. 

September 20, 2019 - No Comments!

Aus 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!

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.