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February 14, 2020 - No Comments!

Empowering Youth Who Can’t Read

Can you imagine working in a coffee shop or restaurant and relying purely on your memory for every order?  

What if you were unable to decipher the menu board, or even recognize the buttons on the Point of Sale cash register? 

Can you picture not being capable of decoding the labels on the different bags of coffee, or the name for each type of milk? Or not being able to read this blog post? I can’t. 

Having literacy skills is something that we often take for granted. We don’t usually remember the exact moment we learned to read, it seemed to just happen.

My only connection to try to understand what it might be like to not be able to read, is from the experience of moving to a foreign country. The first time I recognized a word on the menu, understood a sign that read, “no parking” and wrote my name in Thai - I remember! I was so proud… so excited!

For many of our rescued children, reading is not something they take for granted. It’s a real-life skill that is the difference between having a dream fulfilled and continuing to feel ashamed, useless, or unworthy. 

Recently our barista trainer, found herself reflecting more deeply on the words, “We offer vocational training since many of the children we rescue are behind in or struggle in school, so this gives them practical education to open doors for the future.” Words she had said many times before, but this day she had a greater understanding. And the reality of her words hit her like a ton of bricks. 

Here she was working with precious teenagers that actually couldn’t read. But through vocational training and education, ZOE was helping by opening up new possibilities, instilling new dreams, and equipping them to accomplish the goals they carried in their hearts. 

It is the reason why we’re not just about “rescue.” What chance would these teenagers have if we only rescued and didn't equip? 

Did you know that last year we were unable to provide aftercare services for 30 girls whose rescues we had assisted in? Due to lack of resources, we simply couldn't take them into our rescue center.

We need your help. Not just to rescue, but to give these children a chance to read, learn, and grow. 

Would you help us by becoming a monthly donor for ZOE?Click here to become a monthly supporter in USA, Australia, Thailand or Japan.

January 8, 2020 - No Comments!

Human Trafficking Myths

As we share about human trafficking this month, we realize that many people may have false ideas or misconceptions about what human trafficking looks like. Which is why we are going to talk about five common myths related to human trafficking.

Myth #1: Human trafficking only occurs in developing countries, not the United States. 
Truth: Human trafficking is a global epidemic. It occurs in cities and suburbs all across America. It has been reported in all 50 states. In a study published in 2017, it was estimated that there were about 403,000 victims of human trafficking in the United States. (International Labour Organization, 2017)

Myth #2: Victims are always kidnapped. 
Truth: Though some victims may be kidnapped, it is not the only way people are trafficked. Many traffickers use online grooming to build trust with victims. Many are trafficked by close family friends, relatives, or boyfriends. In 2017, 14.4% of active criminal labor and sex trafficking cases involved defendants who trafficked their children, spouses, intimate partners, siblings, and other family members. (Federal Human Trafficking Report, 2018) 

Myth #3: Human trafficking involves people being physically trapped or chained.
Truth: While some victims are physically and violently held against their will, many are psychologically manipulated, threatened, and trapped in commercial exploitation. A victim’s inability to get away could also be due to lack of resources or a safe place to live. 

Myth #4: Only women are trafficked.
Truth: Though women are disproportionately affected by forced labor, men are also victims of human trafficking. According to a 2017 study, women account for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors. (International Labour Organization, 2017)

Myth #5: All commercial sex is human trafficking.
Truth: Commercial sex involving an adult is legally human trafficking if the person is doing so against their own will, as a result of force, fraud, or coercion. Under U.S. law, any minor under the age of 18 years induced into commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking — regardless of whether or not the trafficker used force, fraud, or coercion. (Polaris Project, 2020)

December 29, 2019 - No Comments!

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month!

Our team has been preparing months in advance to empower and equip you to reach your community and sphere of influence with human trafficking education. We believe more people are going to be reached with human trafficking awareness than ever before. 

There are currently 40.3 million people enslaved today...1 in 4 are children. These statistics may leave you with a bit of a pit in your stomach. They aren’t fun or easy to talk about. But they are necessary conversations. Because nothing will change if people don’t even know of the problem. 

But the best part of Human Trafficking Awareness Month is that we aren’t stuck living with the stomach ache that children are being bought and sold in the commercial sex industry… No, it doesn’t end there! We can also raise awareness that there is hope! 

We can raise awareness that children are being rescued and restored
We can raise awareness that there are solutions being implemented all around the world.
We can raise awareness about the transformations taking place.

Whether you have been on a short term trip to Thailand and seen first hand, or heard the stories from friends or pastors, or generously volunteered and participated in our offices around the world, share your story. Why is your heart moved to do something about human trafficking? 

Human trafficking awareness month can be more than sharing the heart breaking, gut wrenching statistics... You can share your experience of hope and action in this fight to end child trafficking!

November 12, 2019 - No Comments!

Going South East

ZOE recently sent a team to the southeast region of Thailand. The purpose was two-fold. We were there to bring food boxes to communities and to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Our team ran 3 outreaches over the course of the week and reached more than 700 students. Children and communities in this area are especially at high risk and they had the opportunity to learn about the dangers and schemes of human traffickers. These were the first prevention outreaches that ZOE has done in Ubon, Thailand.

We continue to expand our work in our fight to end human trafficking. Our prevention team leader shared his thoughts on the future of work in Ubon. He said, “I hope we’ll have more opportunities to do outreaches there. There are so many children at risk.” They also used the time on ground to build relationships with officials and other organizations with the future in mind.

While our team was there, they were able to witness first hand how much the area was affected by the flooding. News articles say it’s the worst the area has seen in 17 years. Our Mercy Network team was able to support and help pastors that we partner with to supply food and necessities to those affected. One team member shared how seeing where people were living because of the flooding was quite difficult. But “knowing that the pastors we partner with were going to bring food boxes to these locations to help people…this is what impacted me the most on this trip.”

October 2, 2019 - No Comments!

ZOE’s Banyan Trees

If you’ve had the pleasure and privilege of getting to know any one of the Tani sisters, then you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say, I can only imagine what outstanding and amazing people their parents must’ve been. 

Their daughters: Carol - ZOE’s beloved Founder (since 2002) and missionary in Thailand for 14 years, Joy - who has been serving as a missionary in Japan for 26 years, Nora - an incredible supporter of ZOE’s work since the very beginning, and Lynne - also a missionary in Thailand for the past 14 years, are some of the most selfless and loving women on this earth! The caliber and love that these four ladies show in the way they live their lives, and how they put other people’s needs ahead of their own, is an inspiration to so many.

The following memoir, written by Lynne Ginoza, highlights the very place where these sisters were impacted and shaped into who they are today – their family. It highlights the love they each share for God, and expresses the great honor and respect they hold for the exceptional parents who raised them.

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Our parents, Howard and Aiko Tani, were our living examples of Jesus when all 4 of us were growing up. They were our heroes in our eyes – a big reason of who we are and why we do what we do. They lived their lives by intentionally loving and caring for people around them...taking in a pregnant unwed girl; taking in 4 little Vietnamese sisters for a year during the Vietnam refugee crisis; being youth group advisors; speaking endless words of encouragement, hope, and wisdom into a countless number of lives who needed to hear those words; becoming missionaries to Japan in their retirement years; and seeing them stand up for those who feel they didn’t have a voice. And even after their passing away, it’s amazing that we seem to continue to meet people who have a story to tell of how God used our parents to change and influence their lives. Our one regret is that they never got to see ZOE or hear about the amazing miracles that God has done for ZOE throughout these years. But even though they are in heaven now, we just know, they know. 

The Word of God says to honor your father and mother. So we decided as a family to honor our parents by buying and dedicating two banyan trees to plant at ZOE. When fully grown, these trees will be massive. It took awhile, but we finally found a perfect place for the trees. There is a little grassy knoll that overlooks our sports area at the ZOE campus, where a lonely playground set stands – it has never been really used by the ZOE kids because it stands directly in the sun with no shade – so it has always been too hot to play there. But now, with these massive trees planted nearby, we know that this will give the needed relief from the heat. They were strategically planted so that one tree would provide shade from the morning sun and the other one will provide shade from the afternoon sun. If ever you come to visit ZOE, you will see two magnificent trees that will stand in honor of the two amazing people who taught us how to love.

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!