fbpx

All Posts in Child Trafficking Rescue

December 29, 2019 - No Comments!

Rescue to Healing

ZOE is a place where beautiful stories of rescue, hope, life, and love can easily be found.

With permission to share, we think this powerful testimony of one girl’s journey from rescue to healing, will bring renewed hope for the future and great expectations, to all who read it. Please continue to uphold all ZOE’s rescued children in your prayers as they embrace new seasons, new beginnings, and the New Year.

~

It’s hard for me to tell my story. Before I came to live at ZOE my life was not good. Many times I felt like I wanted to get out, but I never could. I felt trapped. I knew that children shouldn’t be doing what I was doing but whenever I got a small amount of money, it gave me what I needed to survive. For a while, that little bit of money numbed my pain.

To survive, I tried to block out anyone who would show me real love. I no longer cared how anyone else felt. I just focused on the money, but deep down I was not happy. I felt like my life had no value, so I would just keep doing the same things. I was ashamed, broken and lonely.

Coming to ZOE really changed my life. I learned that I am VALUABLE in God's sight. It was strange at first because I wasn’t used to people being kind and caring. I was welcomed into a warm and loving family and the longer I stayed, the more I grew to love the ZOE staff and the mothers so much. They helped me learn many new things. For the first time I saw and understood what real love looks like. I learned about forgiving and sharing. I learned that my life is important… that I am important.

It is hard to explain how different I feel and how much I love God. I understand how much He loves me and I am trying to change the way I had thought about myself and now I have new thoughts about the future.

There are many things that I want to thank God for. God does more than I ever think He can. Even just the other day, I was worried because I thought I would need to leave ZOE and go somewhere else, but I wasn’t ready to leave and I was scared. I kept praying to God. I did not want to go but I knew I would be ok because I knew that God would be with me. When one of the ZOE staff came and reassured me that I could continue to live at ZOE, I knew God had answered my prayers.

I will now be able to finish my grade level at the ZOE Learning Center and then in the future I want to study Business Administration. I would like to become an expert in English. These are the new thoughts I have about my future.

I know that sometimes I still make mistakes. I know it will take time to change, but I want to try. Thank you God for rescuing me!

November 26, 2019 - No Comments!

A World Without Orphans

"God put a new dream in my heart over 3 years ago and… 
guess what?!? It's happening!!"

Written by Jessica Dodd

A World Without Orphans.

Can you picture it? A world without any orphans? A world where all children grow up in safe, stable, and nurturing families? I can.

What an amazing experience to be able to attend the Global Forum for a World Without Orphans (WWO), which was held on 24-27 October 2019. With 600 attendees from 60 different countries, WWO has a clear vision to see children thriving, families strong, and churches engaged. The vision will be achieved by helping children remain in, be reunited with, or regain a healthy family, so that they can reach their God-given purpose. The forum focused on the spiritual, relational, and practical aspects for how to best accomplish this aim.

Jessica Dodd with Director of ZOE Children's Home Thailand, Yim at WWO

What was so encouraging about the forum was the spirit of “working together” to care for orphans and vulnerable children better. A united goal of implementing best practices and making realistic changes on every level...from the community/society, government, and even national policies.

A powerful time of worship, as well as the main session, focused on the Father's heart for orphans, steered attendees towards how we can be the hands and feet of Jesus. Breakout sessions were taught by experts from around the world, and included both valuable and practical takeaways.

It was awesome to hear about how different countries have changed their policies on every level as a result of the 1st global forum in 2016 (just 3 years ago!).

For me personally, the four days of forum were life changing, inspiring, challenging, convicting, stirring...all at the same time! I'm so glad I got the opportunity to attend. I'm excited about the future, in more ways than one! 

November 4, 2019 - No Comments!

A Day in the Life of ZOE Child Rescue

Our Child Rescue team is amazing. This team works 100 miles an hour and then some. 

There is no real way to explain all that they do but here is a glimpse into their world.

On any given day several appointments will come up for the children in our care. These are newly rescued children and it is “heart” work along with the practical needs that sews love and healing into these precious children. These could be doctor visits, trips to the hospital, court depositions, and visits with their families. All the while, our ZOE team is right there with them...loving them, listening, counseling, wiping their tears, and pouring God’s love into these precious hearts.

At the same time, our team continues to support and assist the government and police with investigative support. This involves long hours of field work with law enforcement, all with the goal of rescuing more children. They push hard because they know what is at stake and they do it with joy and zeal. They are truly outstanding individuals and an effective team.

Your partnership, prayers, and support allows our ZOE team make a difference.

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

May 3, 2019 - No Comments!

The Mountain Before Us

ZOE International
Brad Ortenzi

I stood in the dark looking for the peak of Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest mountain. The 30-mile race to the top was about to start and 7,000 cyclists straddled their bikes, crowded together at the starting line. We all shared the same unspoken knowledge that the next few hours were gonna hurt. “What am I doing here?” I asked myself. I was about to cycle up an 8,000-foot mountain that punishes anyone wanting to reach its heights.  Some cars can’t make this climb.

This predawn experience reminded me of my first few weeks in Thailand when I asked myself that same question, ”What am I doing here?” Almost 5 years ago I had left people I loved and a career that was a great fit for me to come to Thailand to fight child trafficking with ZOE. We knew that God was calling us here, no doubt about it. But upon arrival when it came time to create goals to find children, I had a vision of a huge mountain in front of me. The mountain represented child trafficking and the hold the enemy had on enslaved children. I was daunted and fear began to fill my heart. I was called here to use what I had learned the previous 20 years to lead a team to help rescue enslaved children. Now when it was time to lock and load, I wasn’t sure where to begin. As I studied the mountain, I could hear the enemy laughing at me.

The next few months were the most difficult of my life. Not because that was God’s design but because it took me awhile to learn to be yoked with the Great Rescuer who was leading me in this fight. You see, I thought the abilities that had served me well in the past were the key to fighting child trafficking in Thailand. Nope. Instead, I learned that the key to climbing the mountain of child trafficking was first sitting at the feet of Jesus.  His presence emboldened my identity in Him, filling me with courage, inspiring me to serve, as I claimed the gift of joy of a life in the service of the King. As I learned to sit at His feet, the wisdom He gave began to bridge gaps, build relationships, create structure, and ultimately build teams that rescue children. And without me even realizing it, we began to climb the mountain.

This memory of my first few months in Thailand filled me with courage as the race started. The nervousness turned into determination and I slowly began to cycle up the mountain, one crank at a time. Five hours later I stood at the top of Doi Inthanon looking over Thailand’s beautiful jungles and thanking God for the journey. Not just the journey of the past five hours but the past five years. This journey was rugged, untamed, and difficult but most of all: amazingly beautiful, just like the jungle I was looking over. In this journey, I’ve been privileged to have had a front row seat watching the Great Rescuer fight for His children with a passionate love that is unstoppable. And after the rescue of children, watching the fearless Rescuer become the compassionate loving Redeemer who heals and restores. I wouldn’t trade this climb for anything.

As my time in Thailand comes to an end and I travel home to the East Coast, I’m excited to see what God has planned for ZOE. Most importantly, I am reminded of a lesson learned that all of us in this fight for the freedom of children need to remember: To conquer the mountain of child trafficking, we must start at the feet of Jesus.

January 1, 2019 - No Comments!

New Hope, New Life, New Year

As we look towards 2019, ZOE is a place where beautiful stories of rescue, hope, life, and love can easily be found.

With permission to share, we think this powerful testimony of one girl’s journey from rescue to healing, will bring renewed hope for the future and great expectations, to all who read it. Please continue to uphold all ZOE’s rescued children in your prayers as they embrace new seasons, new beginnings, and the New Year.

~

It’s hard for me to tell my story. Before I came to live at ZOE my life was not good. Many times I felt like I wanted to get out, but I never could. I felt trapped. I knew that children shouldn’t be doing what I was doing but whenever I got a small amount of money, it gave me what I needed to survive. For a while, that little bit of money numbed my pain.
To survive, I tried to block out anyone who would show me real love. I no longer cared how anyone else felt. I just focused on the money, but deep down I was not happy. I felt like my life had no value, so I would just keep doing the same things. I was ashamed, broken and lonely.

Coming to ZOE really changed my life. I learned that I am VALUABLE in God's sight. It was strange at first because I wasn’t used to people being kind and caring. I was welcomed into a warm and loving family and the longer I stayed, the more I grew to love the ZOE staff and the mothers so much. They helped me learn many new things. For the first time I saw and understood what real love looks like. I learned about forgiving and sharing. I learned that my life is important… that I am important.

It is hard to explain how different I feel and how much I love God. I understand how much He loves me and I am trying to change the way I had thought about myself and now I have new thoughts about the future.

There are many things that I want to thank God for. God does more than I ever think He can. Even just the other day, I was worried because I thought I would need to leave ZOE and go somewhere else, but I wasn’t ready to leave and I was scared. I kept praying to God. I did not want to go but I knew I would be ok because I knew that God would be with me. When one of the ZOE staff came and reassured me that I could continue to live at ZOE, I knew God had answered my prayers.

I will now be able to finish my grade level at the ZOE Learning Center and then in the future I want to study Business Administration. I would like to become an expert in English. These are the new thoughts I have about my future.

I know that sometimes I still make mistakes. I know it will take time to change, but I want to try. Thank you God for rescuing me!

December 27, 2018 - No Comments!

What’s in a Name?

By Andrea Cross

Many children who come to ZOE’s Child Rescue Center do not have the correct documentation or citizenship papers to attend some educational institutions or, later in life, apply for certain jobs. Without the right documents, children and young adults can feel restricted in terms of their future job and study prospects.    

Part of what our ZOE Child Rescue team (ZCR) does is to travel, sometimes for many hours, to search for any helpful leads or useful information for children in this situation.

One of our ZCR team members recently came back very excited after finding an ID card and a school to access important documentation for one of our newly rescued girls. Now she can obtain the certificate she needs to apply for a non-formal education program she wants to attend, and she was also able to get her first bank book!

While this type of work may be tedious, tiring, and non glamorous, it can be some of the most life changing for the children we help. This girl now has the opportunity to continue her education, and as she moves forward in life, her vulnerability and the likelihood of her being revictimized is reduced.

December 17, 2018 - No Comments!

How ZOE Is Rescuing Every Child

by Lori-Ann Tsang

Sometimes, the best things we do in life are the things we do proactively.  Especially, when we plan for, anticipate and then are able to save a life or prevent a tragedy or make sure those entrusted to us are safe.  A lot of what we do at ZOE comes after a child has been victimized. We are part of their RESCUE and RESTORATION. But we also know that we need to be preventative (proactive).  That is why another large part of what we do is PREVENTION.

Our team goes at least twice a month to villages and schools to educate children, families and communities about Human Trafficking and how traffickers will lie or manipulate their way into a community, earn trust and then traffick a child.  This is pretty weighty information. Especially when you are looking at a presenting it to children between the ages of 2 to 10 years old.

Recently, our team wondered how they were going to navigate this and tailor their presentation to these precious young ones. What happened exceeded all their expectations. “We were amazed by their attention.  They are smart and bold,” our team reported. As they were finishing up, they asked the children if they had any questions. The question that came was surprisingly insightful and beyond this child’s young years.  “What if I saw trafficking in my village, who will I notify and what if the one I informed was the suspect, what should I do?” Our team was able to address this question and ease this child’s fears. Giving them knowledge and tools that they can use to keep themselves and their friends safe… to never be trafficked… to give them hope for their future. This is how we are RESCUING every child.

November 26, 2018 - No Comments!

So, Come

by Andrea Cross

After a hard day at school or work, the location where we are free to be ourselves: to laugh, to cry, to reflect, to process and acknowledge our emotions and thoughts, is our home.

Usually we can try to ‘hold it together’ when people are relying on us, when we need to get our job done, finish a test, complete an assignment or manage our everyday tasks.  But for most of us, ‘home’, is a place of safe refuge, unconditional love and limitless acceptance – well it should be, right?

I was reminded recently about the children who ZOE has helped to rescue. When they arrive, they’ve generally had little-to-no control over their environment and circumstances so, understandably, they experience varying emotions from distrust, fear, shame and grief. They may also have injuries, be unwell or arrive addicted to substances.  

For them to understand that they have reached a place where they are free to be who they were created to be, where they are loved and accepted for who they are, where wounds can heal and joy be restored…it’s an overwhelming experience and one that is often hard to believe.

As I stood in the Child Rescue Center recently, a place where the journey begins, I felt so tremendously grateful – not just for the beautiful buildings, gardens and facilities but for the amazing people who stand ready to embrace these precious children.

This poem is about them.

SO, COME

Come with your tear streaked eyes,
Come with your loneliness,
Come with your abandonment,
Bring it.
You are no longer alone.

Come with your hidden pain,
Come with your rejection,
Come with your silent anger,
Bring it.
You are no longer invisible.

Come with your shattered trust,
Come with your fears,
Come with your broken dreams,
Bring them.
You are no longer unheard.

Come with your scars,
Come with your shame,
Come with your unworthiness,
Bring them.
You will no longer be blamed.

Come with your silenced voice,
Come with your wounded heart,
Come with your numbing pain,
Bring them.
You are no longer imprisoned.

Come with your chaos,
Come with your loss,
Come with your rejection,
Bring them.
You are welcome here.

And the longer you stay,
The more you’ll begin to understand,
You are brave.
You are worthy.
You are incredible.
You are truly one of kind.
So, come.

By Andrea Cross

*This poem speaks of the love and kindness that the ZOE staff display day-in and day-out to the ones who have never known and experienced ‘home’ before and the beautiful freedom that comes from being accepted and embraced ‘just as they are’.

November 8, 2018 - No Comments!

Recently Rescued Youth

by Lori-Ann Tsang

ZOE fights for the rights of children who have no one else to fight for them. The children that we rescue come from a range of backgrounds, including being orphaned; on the market to be sold; directly rescued from being labor slaves, begging slaves, and sex slaves or having been subjected to heinous crimes and abuse.  

ZOE will always act in the best interest of each child. Once a child comes into the safety of our care, they are instantly welcomed in and treated like family. Many children only need to stay at ZOE for a short time while evidence is collected, court cases are heard and their situation is assessed. The children and youth who arrive for emergency care and protection at our Child Rescue Center experience love, support, counseling and healing.  God is beginning His restoration process.

  •      For children who are trafficked internationally, ZOE will help repatriate them with their family, sending a team across country borders, to help a child settle back home. ZOE will remain connected with these children and their families to be confident that they are continuing to be cared for.
  •      For children who are trafficked domestically, ZOE will help reunite and reintegrate them with their family.  With support, including trafficking awareness education, as a priority, these families are given the best chance to provide long-term safety for their children in future.
  •      If there is no suitable carer, or biological relative who can look after a child, they will continue to live and be cared for within a small family group at ZOE. Even after children reach 18 years of age, they will be taken care of whilst working towards transitioning to semi-independent, and then fully independent living, as they feel ready.

Upon waiting to be reunited with family, one youth recently shared about the change in their attitude that has happened since staying at our ZOE Thailand campus. Prior to being rescued, they shared about wandering away from their family and not really caring about anyone or anything.  Since being with us, there is a desire to return to family and be a part of helping at home, whether it be to cook or do other chores.

“I want to go back to school,” they said. Previously they had no desire to study.  A new sense of responsibility and hope for the future is made possible because of God’s work in this youth’s life and the wonderful counselors and staff that walk along our children.