All Posts in Education
By Jessicah Ray, PA & Concussion SpecialistTraumatic Brain Injury Awareness for Survivors of Human Trafficking
Much advancement has been accomplished in the recognition of the comprehensive and trauma-informed health needs for survivors of human trafficking. However, publications and guidelines have yet to consistently include the consideration for traumatic brain injury (TBI) assessment and care. This can be a critical miss due to the high rate of abuse and secondary risk of head injuries in this population. In fact, over 92% of survivors of sex trafficking reported suffering from physical violence with most from direct blows to the head or face (Chisolm-Straker & Stoklosa, 2017). Such a high statistic is astonishing considering violence and abuse statistics are constantly underreported.
TBI research has confirmed that children and females are at increased risk of prolonged recovery from traumatic brain injuries. But unlike the general population, human trafficking victims are even more likely to not only sustain multiple TBIs, but also to not recover well from them because of the continued abuse and risk factors. Recovery from TBI is dependent on head injury education, proper rest, gradual return to activity, supportive care, healthy lifestyle choices, and access to medical care when needed.
However, survivors of human trafficking experience barriers in all these TBI recovery respects due to:· High risk of sustaining multiple TBIs· No opportunity to recover between injuries· No available emotional support· Little access to education or healthcare· Forced to return to work immediately
· At risk of malnutrition, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders
The real danger is that without proper diagnosis of TBI, the TBI remains untreated and many of the common symptoms of chronic TBI may be misattributed to other diagnoses. These TBI symptoms include memory difficulty, disorganized thinking, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, dizziness, vision problems, hormone changes, and in cases of children - developmental problems. Many of these symptoms can be mislabeled as secondary to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, personality disorders, addiction, or even behavioral problems. Misdiagnosis can also lead to new problems from the wrong treatment choice worsening the untreated TBI symptoms.
The great news is that treating TBI can reduce these symptoms and the recovery time, even if the head injuries were multiple and occurred years ago. In fact, because victims of abuse often have both TBI and PTSD, treating one often improves symptoms of the other. That is, treating the TBI can improve the PTSD, and vice versa. Most current evidence-based treatment recommendations for TBI, PTSD, and survivors of human trafficking endorse multi-disciplined trauma-informed care. Therefore there is a promising opportunity to integrate TBI assessment and treatment into health management recommendations for survivors of human trafficking, and we can be encouraged to use TBI care as a targeted way to enhance the recovery and quality of life of this vulnerable population.References: Chisolm-Straker, M., & Stoklosa, H. (Eds.). (2017). Human Trafficking Is a Public Health Issue. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47824-1
By Michael Hart
This month, ZOE’s founder Michael Hart shares 3 stories which show why the recent school graduations are cause for such celebration in Thailand.
It was an extra hot day of 95 F (35 C) when 8 of our ZOE 6th graders graduated on March 12th. In addition to the heat, the air quality was at extremely dangerous levels over 300 AQI. Many of the locals stayed indoors that day or wore filtering masks in order to be protected from the hazy pollution created by the burning fields and forest fires. Yet this outside graduation would not be stopped. It was a time of celebration despite the foreboding elements. These 8 children have had previously experienced atrocities in their young lives that none of us can imagine. Yet, here they stood for over 3 hours in the sun and smoke, without protection, smiling away and enjoying their day of victory. We cheered them on and hugged them, telling them how much we loved them and were so proud of them for their achievements. It was not the weather we remember, but it was looking at them and beholding what God has done in their lives that captured our attention. God is truly “The Father to the fatherless.”
On March 15th, four of our sweet ZOE girls graduated from 6th grade at a different school. We thank God for their school because it is one of the few Christian schools in Thailand, where less than 1% of the nation are followers of Christ. Their school understands the backgrounds of many of ZOE’s children and for years have worked with us in helping to restore them. Education is an important part of preventing and ending child trafficking. These 4 girls were taught all the regular school subjects but in a Christian context. In addition, their school taught them many Thai historical and cultural skills. We think this is great for children to learn more about their own culture and to celebrate their national identity. It was a joy to see their proud smiles and to congratulate them for their achievements.
Also on March 15th, we arrived at 3pm in the hot sun and smoky air to celebrate the 12th graduation of one of our ZOE teenage girls. We were told that we would be able to meet the students for a photo at 3:30 pm. Instead the 300 graduates were escorted straight to their seats while the parents, friends, and families waited until the ceremony was over. Finally, after 6pm the festivities took a pause, so we could see our girl and congratulate her. She was so excited that we were present for her, because she did not have parents to greet her peers. Her ZOE mom lavished her with praise, while the rest of us hugged her and gave her gifts. After that, it was photo time. We stood by her and surrounded her for pictures, helping her experience that she was the most important person on earth in that moment. She graduated with a degree in Tourism, which will empower her to be able to take care of herself in a sustainable career. We are so proud of all our kids and thank God for His loving grace that He showers upon them. All great reasons to celebrate!
By Andrea Cross
Awareness is one of the greatest weapons against human trafficking. When airport, taxi, Uber, hotel, convenience store, truck stop, rest area, welcome center, job center, and emergency room staff are aware about the signs of trafficking they are better equipped to recognize when they have contact with both victims and perpetrators of human trafficking. As more people become aware, the better the chance of stopping human trafficking and impacting the lives of millions around the world.
The United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that 42% of victims were detected from outside of their borders. This makes places like airports, bus stations, and train stations, prime locations to spot human trafficking. (CBTravel)
Around the globe, the fight against human trafficking is bringing multiple partners together in unprecedented ways to combat the evil of modern day slavery.
Michael Hart, CEO of ZOE International, reflected on his experience with partnering across public and private sectors by saying, “Together as the good guys, let’s fight; and together, as the good guys, we are destined to win.”
ZOE International, has been combating human trafficking on the ground for 15 years in Southeast Asia and is active in Thailand, Japan, Australia, Mexico, and the United States.
Know the signs
ZOE has a short video that explains the signs to look for to protect yourself and others. Watch it here!
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:
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888 or Text “HELP” to 233733
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1300
Or call the ZOE Child Rescue Team 0801 318 108
Australian Federal Police on 131AFP (131237) or email AOCC-Client-Liaison@afp.gov.au
Polaris Japan: 0120-924-839
Lighthouse Center for Human Trafficking Victims: 0120-879-871
Yorisoi Hotline Helpline for Foreigners: 0120 279 338
National Helpline Against Trafficking in Persons: 5533-5533
The Airports Council International has produced a free “Combatting Human Trafficking Handbook” for its staff along with other companies within the travel industry such as Grab and various hotel chains, who have also begun training their workers on what to look out for in regards to identifying a trafficking victim.
What is the first thing most travelers do when they leave an airport? That’s right, look for a taxi - or maybe even get an Uber or a Grab.
Drivers who "often unwittingly become the first point of contact for traffickers or victims, at airports or bus terminals" may prove to be very helpful in the detection of criminal activity.”
From the moment travelers leave their homes, they can be on the lookout for signs of trafficking within airports, at stations, and all around them. Travelers, cross paths with all walks of life on business trips and when traveling for leisure. When made aware of how to identify suspicious behavior, they could be able to help put a stop to trafficking attempts.
Sight Magazine recently reported, "From airlines to hotels, the travel industry is on the front line of the fight against trafficking.”
By Ester Yu
In 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that requires human trafficking awareness training in industries where workers are likely to encounter human trafficking victims, including hotel and motel workers. By January 1, 2020, employers must provide at least 20 minutes of training to employees in these industries.
In a national study of more than 1,400 cases of sex traffickers of minors between 2010 and 2015, the most common venue where children were trafficked were from hotel rooms (56.6%).
Hilton Hotel in Universal City invited ZOE Los Angeles to provide human trafficking awareness training to more than 120 of their employees, from housekeepers to the General Manager, sharing about how to identify signs of human trafficking in a hotel setting. We were excited to be able to provide one session in Spanish.
Our team was so encouraged by the Training Manager who worked hard to coordinate this training after she first heard about human trafficking over a year ago. Participants were engaged, asked great questions, and shared what they learned in the training.
Our message to the employees was that this is happening in our communities and that each of us can do our part to look out for one another's children, sisters, and friends.
To help ZOE continue to provide these free trainings to your communities, visit gozoe.org/donate.
By Andrea Cross
“Trauma Informed Care is an organizational structure and treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. Trauma Informed Care also emphasizes physical, psychological and emotional safety for both consumers and providers, and helps survivors rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.” -Trauma Informed Care Project
Trauma informed care basically means that the care provided is an informed understanding of what trauma does to a person’s brain and body - and knowing what this looks like emotionally and socially. It no longer asks, “What’s wrong with this person?” but “What happened to this person?” It is the foundation of both healing and recovery.
Keeping abreast in our work, ZOE sent our psychologist and childcare staff to Nakonayok Province to attend a Trauma Informed Care conference, organized by the Anti-Human Trafficking Division, Ministry of Social Welfare, and International Justice Mission (IJM). It was so wonderful to see that not only did they attend the conference, they had the opportunity to contribute their experience and knowledge as well.
Soon after the conference, the attendees returned to conduct a training here for all our ZOE childcare staff.
By Andrea Cross
It has been said that, “Whoever dares to teach must never cease to learn,” so when two educational supervisors from Chiang Mai Educational Service Area were invited to come and do training with our ZOE teachers, the teachers eagerly jumped at the opportunity to learn more. The supervisors helped them learn more about curriculum, the structure of writing curriculum, and quality educational practices.
Although the ZOE Learning Center has been in operation for almost 2 years, the teachers recognize the need for ongoing development within both the curriculum and the teachers personally.
One of the ZOE teachers commented, “We were impressed by the two educational supervisors. They were kind, friendly, and they sacrificed their time to come to train us, give us knowledge, and explain about curriculum writing until we could understand it more and write it by ourselves.”
By Lori Ortenzi
Girls studying at ZOE’s Learning Center began a 6-week Hospitality Course recently. Instructor and ZOE missionary Lori Ortenzi reflected on their first day.
The students had no idea what to expect from their cooking class today. There was a mixture of excitement and nervousness as we drove to the market together. The best part of the day was during our drive, one of the students asked to play a worship song. All of the students began to sing and after the song was over, one of the students asked, “Mae, can you please pray now?”
The cooking school provided an instructor and clean up staff for our private group of students. The students were only asked to cook and eat their food. However, the students wanted to wash all of their dishes, pots, and pans. Our students stopped to pray before our meal. The staff was so impressed and their instructor was impacted by their kindness and good manners.
I am so grateful for this opportunity to teach our students and for the donors who wanted to provide this cooking class for our students to learn in a different environment. Through the 6-week course, they are learning how to shop for ingredients and developing confidence to make a few smaller recipes by themselves.
By Lori-Ann Tsang
In January, Thailand celebrates Children’s Day with a plethora of different activity options for parents to bring their children to. The flurry, busyness, and crowds of the day may seem a little over-the-top and daunting, that one may feel it is not worth the effort to try to bring your children out to these events. Yet the crowds are everywhere.
Why do parents do it? When I reflect on it, I have to compare it to Disneyland. As an adult, I may not have much desire to go to “the happiest place on earth.” I don’t like crowds or lines and the rides may not be of much interest to me. But, when I think about the wonder, awe, and joy it would bring to a child I love...that would motivate me to face the things I don’t enjoy for the sake of bringing joy to someone I love.
Our parents and Next Gen team took our ZOE children on an adventure to Wing 41, a Thai Air Force Base. They enjoyed eating snacks, playing games, climbing on fighter jets, meeting pilots, seeing a dog show, and then watching an air show. What a wonderful day they had.
Children need adventure. Children need to laugh and play and see new things. ZOE strives to give each child every opportunity to be a child. We celebrate their precious lives! We are so thankful for the gift they are.
by Abigail Carcich
Fortnite, a wildly popular online video game about survival, was first released in early 2017 by Epic Games. Its second mode, Fortnite Battle Royale, released only a couple of months later, surged in popularity nearly overnight to over 10 million users. Currently, the free-to-play game has an estimated player base of over 100 million.
Players can play solo, or in a groups with friends. The game drops you into an environment where you and your team fight others (up to 100 people total) to be the last man standing, Hunger Games style.
Parents report enjoying the game for the camaraderie it gives them with their children. Kids report loving the game for the epic tales of adventure, survival, and demise.
However, predators are also using Fortnite to gain access to potential victims of sexual crimes.
Many video games include a chat function, in which you can chat with other members of your team, or with other players in your same game. Some video games have built-in functions for live streaming of your game, allowing the general public to view your game on the internet as you play it, and comment or send you private messages.
Predators will chat with their potential victims, and look for vulnerable young people with whom to connect. After a series of messages, predators may request sexual/nude photographs, or send graphic images of their own. They also may request to meet their victims in person, with the intent of engaging in a sexual encounter.
Fortnite is one of the most popular online platforms currently, but it is by no means the only one that contains opportunities for predators. Recently, a sting operation in New Jersey resulted in the arrest of 24 men, all of whom used various online platforms to connect with their victims. These other platforms included chatting app Kik and social media apps Scout and Whisper.
Parents should be aware of which games and apps their children interact with, and should frequently discuss with their children the dangers of talking with strangers online. Good internet practices and rules should be established, such as do not share personal information with someone you meet online, never send personal images, and never agree to meet someone that you do not already know.
Parents should also familiarize themselves with the different apps and games that their children interact with, as well as their security settings, and should ask their children questions about their online or gaming friends, investigating any odd or secretive behavior.
Fortnite -- and video games in general -- is likely to continue being popular with young and old alike. Staying connected to your child and educating them is the best way to guard against online predators.
For more tips about internet safety, view ZOE's Parent Guide to Internet Safety http://gozoe.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/A-parent-guide-to-internet-safety.pdf).