All Posts in Human Trafficking Articles

October 13, 2014 - No Comments!

Columbus Day and the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Humanity by nature seems to have a heart of exploration and problem solving.  Against odds or better judgment we are led to climb unconquered mountains, spelunk newly discovered caves, or seek solutions to problems that seem unanswerable.  Many people, including myself, cringe at the thought of the unknown or of dangerous situations.  There are other people though who seek answers and new things.  Praise God for these people!

Much like the discovery of the New World and the celebration of Columbus Day in the United States, the fight against human trafficking is a new frontier.  Every day brings new challenges that have yet to be encountered. The problem solvers on the front line of the battle are forced to make tough decisions that have never been made before or discern answers to questions that have never been asked.

In the case of ZOE international, as followers of Christ, we have the aid of the Holy Spirit. We praise God every day for His guidance in this new arena of evil.  With human trafficking, an issue so new and complex, we would flounder and fail without the wisdom of God there to lead us through this uncharted territory.  While there is new research about trafficking and new statistics that help lead us to wise decisions, God is the only one with a fool-proof answer to the problems faced every day.

Because of this reliance on God, please pray that ZOE, law enforcement, and other anti-human trafficking organizations seek wisdom in combating human trafficking with an even greater force, conviction, and passion.  Even though many are standing together against this evil, we must continue to push back so we can erase human trafficking from the pages of history.

Learn more about the problem of human trafficking here . If you would like to learn more ways to pray for an end to human trafficking, download our Prayer Guide. If you would like to help us financially, please visit our donation page .

October 9, 2014 - No Comments!

2012 Was Key for ZOE to Help Child Trafficking Victims

Over the years, ZOE has developed and maintained a solid working relationship with Thailand’s Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Immigration,and local law enforcement including Thailand’s anti-trafficking task force. During 2012, through its government partnerships, ZOE provided investigative support, Burmese translation services, prosecution trial support, and comprehensive aftercare to help child trafficking victims.



U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney speaking to our ZOE kids.

Representatives from key government entities in Thailand have expressed full support and praise of the work ZOE is doing on behalf of children in their nation.  In fact, despite our efforts to keep a low profile, even U.S. officials began hearing about the effective work we do and came to see for themselves.  One such visit was that of U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney along with U.S. Consul General in Chiang Mai and his Vice Consul.  They visited the ZOE campus on September 12, 2012 and learned firsthand about our ZOE Child Rescue (ZCR) work, ZOE organization, and our ZOE vocational program. The highlight of her visit, of course, was to meet with our ZOE kids. She greeted them in a most gentle and humble way!

A wonderful example of the prevention and intervention work that these officials had been hearing about involved the rescue of two girls from a forced-labor human trafficking case that took place in 2012 . The initial tip came from Prevention work that was being done in a hill tribe village, and how it led to a full investigation and subsequent Intervention rescue. Our ZCR team took the lead in the reunification of these two girls to their respective families and communities. Prior to reunification, a massive storm rolled through the region, bringing incredible amounts of rain and wind. One of the girls’ homes was situated along a large river which rose and swelled. Eventually, whole sections of the bank collapsed, taking with it half of her home. Her family, poor and despondent already from losing their daughter, was now without a home.

Our ZCR team had been ministering to this family throughout this long ordeal. We had gone multiple times to check on the family and bring news of their daughter who was still awaiting trial far away and unreachable to them. When the storm came and the house fell, ZOE again came to their aid. When briefed of this family’s dire predicament, ZOE staff and missionaries pitched in and gave a love offering to help rebuild their house. Everyone understood that this family, already burdened with extreme poverty and untenable circumstances, would be hard-pressed to make it going alone. Being a family with five young daughters and no sons, and now without a home, their vulnerability factor increased overnight. So, in an act of Christian charity and with a heart to stop the recirculation of children sent off to earn money for their families, the ZOE family gave over $600 out of their pockets to help. This, in essence, is another act of Prevention.


ZOE Child Rescue (ZCR) staff at work

The year ended with a signal event in ZOE’s journey. On November 27, 2012, God accomplished something we had long prayed for and worked hard for. The Thai government officially granted ZOE a Children’s Home Permit that day! These permits are exceedingly rare and difficult to obtain.

Now ZOE Children’s Homes is one of the very few registered children’s homes in the Chiang Mai Province. Praise the Lord! 2012 was a fulfilling year in the life of our ZOE family and the lives of others touched by ZOE.

June 19, 2014 - No Comments!

Supply and Demand in Human Trafficking: Changing the Equation

Causes of Human Trafficking

Written by Marji Iacovetti, Program Services Manager for ZCHLA

Human trafficking has been identified as the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprise. [1] Typically, the word “enterprise” is used to describe a business endeavor and, indeed, this is how the atrocity of modern-day slavery is viewed by some too many.

From a business standpoint, human trafficking thrives on the principles of supply and demand. Vulnerable, unprotected people are the supply. Individuals seeking gratification are the demand. Human traffickers profit by connecting the two. The cost to the victims is immense. Treated as property, human trafficking victims are brutalized physically and emotionally. Many do not survive.

On a global level, the vulnerability that puts people at risk is often driven by financial poverty, which is a factor here in the U.S. Another large factor in America, though, is relational poverty. Young people who do not feel loved and wanted are highly vulnerable to the tactics of traffickers. Many are lured because their need to feel wanted outweighs their need to be safe.

The good news is that every one of us has the ability to intervene at some level. We can fight this crime through prayer, through volunteer service and through financial support. Even small steps can make a difference.

We can help reduce the vulnerability of young people by simply treating them like they matter--by making eye contact, by listening, by caring and by making safe places like youth groups that provide opportunities to belong.

The simple truth is that basic human kindness and acceptance are important tools in the fight against human trafficking.

[1] State of California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General - http://oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking

January 30, 2014 - No Comments!

4 Ways You Can STAND Against Human Trafficking

STAND up for Awareness - Educate yourself by learning about and supporting organizations that are actively fighting against global human trafficking. ZOE sees the need for collaboration and coordinated efforts amongst individuals, communities and non-profits. There are many amazing organizations working towards the same goal of eliminating human trafficking in our generation. Some are working through the courts by changing laws like Polaris Project and ECPAT. Others like, IJM, Love146  and ourselves, ZOE  are working through relationships by changing the lives of those who have been trafficked through intervention & restoration.

STAND up for Others - Be alert and vigilant within your surroundings. Human trafficking is happening where you work and live. There are victims who are being trafficked (both sex trafficking & labor trafficking hiding in plain site. Report anything that seems suspicious by calling 1-888-373-7888 or texting BeFree (233733).

STAND up for your Choices - Make sure your consumer choices are free from slavery.  Be part of the solution and not the problem by choosing a  lifestyle that does not condone sexual exploitation on any level. Choose to support organizations like iSanctuary or Stop Traffick Fashion that give jobs to survivors of human trafficking.

STAND up for Legislation - Where is your city, your state, your country in terms of combatting human trafficking, punishing traffickers and supporting survivors? Check out the 2013 State Ratings here. Make your voice heard and take action if the laws are not in place.

STANDing against anything is a moment by moment, day by day choice to be effective. Let’s choose to enlarge our effectiveness in the STAND against Human Trafficking by being aware, being alert, being part of the solution and being vocal. We can STAND in our daily lives and fight for those who can not fight for themselves.






January 13, 2014 - No Comments!

Human Trafficking from a Missionary's Perspective

This post is written by ZOE missionary, Jonathan Degler.

People from our home in the United States ask us all the time, “How can you stand being around victims of human trafficking every day?”  They ask because if one sits down to think about what these children have been through, no matter how educated they are on the subject, they break down into despair, rage, and fear.  We can’t imagine the pain and loneliness these precious little ones have endured, and merely attempting to wrap our heads around what they are going through brings us to our knees every time.

Prior to leaving for Thailand, we had no idea how to answer the question, and we asked ourselves over and over again, “How will we be able to stand it?”  Being at ZOE though, and building relationships with the children here, quickly gave us the answer.  God’s power to heal is great and mighty.  It's natural for us to feel despair, rage, and fear on behalf of the children at ZOE and other trafficked people around the world. Yet, when we dwell on those emotions, we deny the awesome ability that God has to transform despair into joy, rage into forgiveness, and fear into courage.  Sharing life with kids who have been trafficked doesn’t fill us with grief like we thought it would, but rather we are filled with the “peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

January 6, 2014 - No Comments!

Top Things You Need to KNOW About Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking Facts

Human Trafficking Facts

"Human trafficking is happening in your subdivision, my subdivision, in apartment complexes, and everybody is unaware of it." - Louisiana State Representative Valerie Hodges

KNOW the Stats

Exact human trafficking statistics are difficult to collect because of the hidden nature of trafficking. Labor and sex trafficking are the main forms of human trafficking worldwide. Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking on some level.

  • Globally, one in five victims are children.
  • Women make up two-thirds of the victims.
  • The market value of human trafficking profits is $32 billion.
  • At any given time, up to 27 million people are being trafficked.
  • As many as 300,000 children are at risk of being prostituted.
  • The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the United States is 13-14 years old.
  • One in three teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.
  • The average victim may be forced to have sex up to 20-48 times a day.

KNOW the Signs

Anyone can become a human trafficking victim. Many victims are often hidden in plain sight right in front of us in our everyday lives (i.e. construction sites, restaurants, elder care centers, nail salons, agricultural fields, massage parlors, homes)

  • Poor work and living conditions
  • Not in control of her own money or identification docs
  • Isn’t allowed to speak for herself
  • Seems anxious, fearful, or paranoid. Avoids eye contact
  • Shows signs of abuse
  • Inconsistencies in her story
  • Never alone or able to speak for herself
  • Alcohol or drug dependency

KNOW the Sources

Know where to get help. When people are aware of the signs of human trafficking and know where to find help, it is easier for human trafficking victims to be identified and then given assistance. Human trafficking survivors are often discovered because someone saw the signs and contacted authorities.



December 23, 2013 - No Comments!

More on ZOE Los Angeles (ZCHLA)

ZOE International Applies for Group Home Licensing

We believe God has called ZOE International to open a specialized home for human trafficking victims in Los Angeles County—a home that will be a place of safety, healing, and unconditional love. Shelter for survivors of human trafficking is one of the most commonly cited needs by individuals contacting the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. We can be a shelter for not only their physical needs, but for the deep emotional and spiritual needs as well.ZOE Children's Homes Los Angeles

A very important step in opening the home is receiving licensing to be a group home. In order to receive this license, we need to submit what is called a Group Home Program Statement. This is a formal document that explains to the state how we intend to take care of the children in our care. It is a key piece of the licensing application and where we are on our journey to open this group home.

This Program Statement is like nothing I have ever seen. It is very long because of the detailed questions we must answer as to how we will care for the kids in our home. Some of the questions asked are: What are the purpose, methods, and goals of the program? How will children be transported to medical appointments, school, and activities? What will the childrens schedule be like? What will their meal plans be? What will the house rules be? What methods of discipline will be used?

Imagine having to write out how you plan to run your home and raise your children, and then be held to this standard. Oh and this plan has to be OK for all the children. You can’t change it because it works for half of the kids, but not the others. If you want to change later, you have to submit addendums and wait for approval.

We are in the final stages of working on the Program Statement. Soon, we will give it to our Los Angeles advisory board members, so they can read it over and give input. Then, we can become a foster care placement resource through Los Angeles County.ZOE Children's Homes Los Angeles

We are committed to our home being a safe place where human trafficking victims can receive healing and become everything God intended them to become. Please pray for us as we finalize this step in the process of getting our Los Angeles home open. If you want to stay updated on ZOE Children's Homes Los Angeles and other ZOE news, enter your email on the right side of this post to receive blog posts in your email box.

December 16, 2013 - No Comments!

Want to Learn More About Human Trafficking?

At ZOE we are passionate about our mission to reach every person and rescue every child with the love and compassion of God. We do this through rescuing and caring for orphans and children at risk of or involved in human trafficking. This modern day slavery comes in many forms, with humans being traded as goods for sexual services and and cheap labor. It is rampant in every country in the world. It is wrong and must be stopped. At ZOE we are specifically targeting those who are intent on trafficking the most defenseless in society - the children.

Next month is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Throughout January, we will be highlighting not only what human trafficking is, but how you can be aware of it and how you can take steps to prevent it in your community and circle of influence. We want to get the word out so that we can end child trafficking in this generation! Check out the share buttons and email sign up below. Inform yourself and others by signing up for our blog to come in your email box and by sharing on your social networks. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram as we aim to increase awareness of this harsh reality to as many people as we can.

Below are some organizations that are great resources for learning more about the facts on human trafficking.







April 22, 2013 - No Comments!

Bruised Reeds….Special in the Sight of God

There is a scripture that says "A bruised reed, I will not despise." I always thought that was beautiful, poetic and truly expressed the compassion of God. It felt very personal to me, because I came to the Lord many years ago with damaged emotions and a wounded heart. Now I know that all of us are bruised reeds in one way or another. It is impossible to navigate this world without battle scars. Fortunately He is Jehovah Rapha, the God that heals.

For some of us, our wounds are more apparent than others. Children are vulnerable and deserve protection from a world that is often full of peril and danger. Unfortunately that shield of protection is sometimes lacking, and the results can be unspeakable horror for the innocent, who are so very precious in the sight of God. Such is the case with the children at ZOE. I don't know the personal history of each one of them, but I know they would not be in the ZOE home if they had not been in imminent danger. As a mother of four grown children and grandmother of three, how could I turn away from the cries of children who are in both emotional and physical pain? Oh, I know...we would lose our minds if we lingered on these thoughts constantly. The bible tells us to fix our mind on things that are pure and lovely, and yet to deny the existence of dark forces is to live outside the realm of reality and worse convince ourselves that we have no obligation to alleviate suffering.

I always wanted to be a part of healing a suffering world. I've known about sex trafficking for years, but I never quite knew what to do about it. It seemed so huge, so daunting, and it is, but our God is larger still. We may not be able to fix everything that ails the world, but we can all do something as God directs our paths. One little fire fly might not make much of a difference, but a multitude can light up the sky.

I learned about ZOE when I was attending the Sanctuary Church in Santa Clarita. It sounded like an amazing organization. I contacted them and learned about child sponsorship. It seemed like an ideal situation for me. I live in Los Angeles now and no longer attend the Sanctuary. In fact, I recently purchased a home out here. This house took a lot of renovation, and I had always wanted hardwood floors. I don't think God has anything against us living in a pleasant environment, but as I was spending money on various upgrades, I thought "If I can spend money on renovations purely for aesthetic purposes, surely I can do something for a child who might otherwise be locked into a hopeless situation." I thought of my own children, three of them girls, and imagined them as children in that type of situation." Sponsoring a child was a no-brainer. I am grateful to be part of the ZOE family!

Written by ZOE Supporter Barbara Byrd

February 9, 2012 - No Comments!


As I drove around doing errands the other day, my mind wandered from thought to thought.  My to-do lists.  What to cook for dinner.  Things to remember.

And then I saw it. Another one.  A new one, which had just been built.

A brand spanking new … 7- ELEVEN store.

My 5-year-old daughter and my husband like to play this game in the car called “7-Eleven”.  It’s basically just spot the 7-Eleven store and the person who spots the most during the trip is the winner or the game can be carried on from one trip to another, depending on what they decide {sigh}. It drives me crazy because I might be mid-sentence, saying something really important {a-hem} when all of a sudden “7-Eleven!” erupts, followed by lots of excitable screaming and yelling about who’s winning and who saw it first … yadda-yadda … hence, my important sentence gets lost.

You get the picture. But, in case you’re wondering how I could let this simple game drive me crazy, I just want to point out that in Thailand, there are over six thousand 7-Eleven stores!

Yep!  We pass at least 10 just on the way to drop my younger two children at their preschool.  You might understand now how it might, kind-of, just a little bit, get annoying after a while {nod here}.

And then my thoughts trail away to other things.  Things I’ve been reading lately.  Funnily enough a recent article from Family Education talks about what to expect in the second grade, and helping your child aged 7-11 to successfully face challenges that the school year may bring.  My eldest is turning 7 later this year but I am already trying to think ahead and be prepared (as much as possible) in relation to the social and emotional issues that this age group generally face. And then my mind races once more, this time to the ‘other’ kids in this age group, the ones who don’t have a mom or dad reading up on all the latest educational advice.  Whose moms or dads never had the chance to learn to read.  Whose parents are no longer alive.  Whose parents, for whatever reason, couldn’t protect them.  This is the group we came here to help:  the orphans and the little ones who cannot fight for themselves. And while I sit in my car noticing the 6001st 7-Eleven to be built, I think of the many little 7-11 year olds who still need rescuing.

At ZOE Children’s Homes we currently have around twenty children who fall into this age group who have been rescued and are now safe in the care of a new family.   [There are also many children who are both younger and older than this].

The team at ZOE not only works hard to prevent child trafficking from occurring, but we will intervene when a child is in danger of being sold or has been sold into prostitution or slavery.

But it doesn’t finish there, we commit to caring for these children from then on.

Did you know that there are more than 39,000 7-ELEVEN outlets worldwide?  You see them too.

As you drive home from work.

As you race to pick up your kids from school.

As you rush to that meeting.

As you dash out to go to the gym.

On your way to church.

But what can you possibly do? Right? Well here’s a really easy thing.

Every time you see a 7-Eleven store, let it remind you about what you have just read.

I’m not going to give you a bunch of statistics to remember.  If there is one child who has been trafficked, it’s one too many.

You’re valuable to us!

You have the potential to share what ZOE is doing with an audience that we cannot reach – your friends, family, work colleagues, sports team, mothers' group, church, school and neighborhood.

You can create awareness about the atrocities of human trafficking, child trafficking and modern day slavery.

You can address these issues through your Facebook page, your blog, your local newspapers or any other link to mass media that you have.

If you've been touched by the work going on at ZOE or if you've seen or read or heard or experienced something that affected you, then go on and share THIS with others.

Will you?