Category "ZOE International"

What took so long for someone to find me and tell me about Jesus?

April 26, 2022

This was what we thought she would say. We assumed this was, understandably, going on in her heart when we saw her agitation build. But what she said when our caregiver spoke with her was much more profound. She said something that I will never forget, something that still echoes in my heart and mind years later and helps reinforce our purpose and focus.

“We learned about a 13-year-old girl in Thailand, a virgin, who was going to be auctioned off at a brothel; the police started planning her rescue and asked ZOE to get involved,” shared Carol Hart, ZOE Founder, and President. “The situation was complicated because of who owned this brothel. We had to proceed with extreme caution, yet quickly.”

When rescue day came, the team found the girl they knew would be there and found and rescued another young girl who had been in the brothel for months.

“The second girl we rescued had seen unimaginable horrors – daily, men would pay to torture her and rape her multiple times a day, realities that are hard for us even to wrap our minds around,” continued Carol. “Usually, in a situation like this, we prefer to separate the survivors right after the rescue to give them time to process and heal in the safest way possible. But with the complications of this specific situation and necessary increased security, we had to keep the girls in the same location and room, which was the safest place we had.”

When the girls arrived at ZOE, they spent time with our loving caregivers and staff, who loved them unconditionally.

After a few weeks, the girls learned who Jesus was by asking the question, “Why are you helping us?” After several weeks the girls asked if they could ask Jesus into their lives. AND they also asked, “CAN WE HAVE A BIBLE?”

“Both girls read their Bibles every day, but the second girl we rescued, who was at the brothel longer than the first and had endured great trauma, read her Bible voraciously,” shared Carol. “It was as if she was looking for something. She couldn’t get enough of what she was learning and discovering in the Bible.”

The concern with having both girls in the same room directly after rescue began to grow as the second girl who had seen horrors became agitated and angry. The team wondered if she would start comparing her experience with the other girl who had been rescued before being sold.

“Our caregiver saw her pacing, tears in her eyes from frustration. They slowly approached, preparing for what was going to be a tough conversation,” continued Carol. “But she said something shocking and unexpected.”

With passion, she exclaimed, “WHAT TOOK SO LONG FOR SOMEONE TO FIND ME AND TELL ME ABOUT JESUS! Why didn’t anyone tell me about Jesus sooner? For 16 years, I’ve had so many questions…Who made me, where am I going when I die? Does anyone see me? Is this going to be my life? Do I have a future? I’ve found my answers in the Bible you gave me!

After I gave my life to Jesus, I felt freer and lighter. The weight on my shoulders was gone! Why didn’t anyone tell me sooner? You are Christians, right?! What takes so long for you to share with others about Jesus – my whole life, no one ever told me about Jesus!”

This girl, who had experienced unimaginable emotional and physical pain and abuse day after day, was angry, but not for the reasons we assumed. When she gave her life to Jesus, that was the most important thing in her life. She said, “My rescue from the brothel is nothing compared to knowing Jesus, my eternal Rescuer!” She truly understood the power of the gospel.

Carol shared, “That moment and those words from her perspective changed me forever. Yes, we will work until our last breath to rescue children who are trafficked whether they want Jesus or not – that’s 100% their choice, but we are missing true HOPE and FREEDOM if we aren’t reaching people with the gospel.”

Orphaned & Rejected – 2nd Child Rescued by ZOE in Thailand

February 22, 2022

*Busaba’s parents died when she was very young, and she went to live with her grandparents. Friends and people in her village made fun of her and called her “bad luck” because she no longer had parents. Rejected by all, she was vulnerable to being sold for trafficking.

Busaba came to ZOE’s home when she was 7 years old. “When she walked through we greeted her with a round of applause and cheers by the ZOE family,” said the ZOE Thai Staff. “It made her feel so loved and welcomed! She was impressed as a little girl.”

While living in the home, Busaba was constantly surrounded by people who loved her. Her ZOE parents became her true parents and showed her how to live in a godly way. From the time she first stepped into the ZOE home until now, Busaba feels like ZOE has given her everything she needed that she lost. She is loved and feels confident. She is thankful that she was able to receive her education and finish her Arts at the university.

“ZOE is a place anointed by God to help and rescue children,” said Busaba.

When Busaba finished high school, she prayed to God and said, “God, you are good, and I am here because of you. If you need me, use me. I will do anything for you or ZOE.” She wanted God to use her talents and giftings to her full potential. God answered Busaba’s prayers, and today she is working for ZOE.

“These kids need help and comfort from God – not only for their physical needs but also for their soul and spiritual needs,” said Busaba. “There is so much love poured out at ZOE. And you see the kindness and grace of God over this place. This is the place of hope for the children.

I pray for ZOE’s future – that it is full of happiness and that many more kids will be rescued. I pray God will bless them with more land to grow bigger and grow around the world. I am also praying for ZOE to be in many more countries. I pray for every person who walks onto the ZOE property – whether it’s a visitor or a rescued child – that ultimately, they will see and be touched by the love and power of God.”

The people in the villages who called Busaba “bad luck” now see her differently. After losing her parents, they see how God has worked in her life, and they are amazed at what God has done in her.

This year, ZOE International celebrates 20 years of reaching people with God’s love and a mission to rescue children from the horrors of human trafficking.

*Pseudonym: ZOE protects the identity and dignity of children and does not show trafficked children. Busaba permitted us to share her story to honor what God has done in her life while being under ZOE’s care.

Orphaned at 8 – First Child Rescued by ZOE

February 15, 2022

*Kulap experienced loss and trauma at a very young age. Most of her immediate family, including her parents, older brother and sister, and grandparents, died when she was young.

“I remember as a young child feeling so alone, and I missed my parents very much,” said Kulap. “I was very afraid all the time and had no self-confidence,” said Kulap. 

The one family member that was still alive was her aunt. She took care of Kulap but became mentally ill because of all the loved ones in the family whom she had lost. “She was absent-minded and could not care for herself,” said Kulap. “Every time I returned to the village, I would shower her and cut her hair and nails for her.” Young Kulap was highly at risk of being sold into trafficking.

Kulap was 8-years-old when she came to live at ZOE Children’s Home in Thailand. ZOE parents and missionaries made a significant impact on her life. “They worked so hard and devoted their lives to us,” shared Kulap. “They served tirelessly and instilled in me faithfulness and integrity.” Currently, Kulap is working at a jewelry exporting company where she must work with the highest level of honesty and integrity. Learning the value of integrity at a young age has helped Kulap keep her job while many of her coworkers were terminated because of their dishonesty. Kulap added, “I was also taught the value of humility by ZOE, which has helped me work well with others in my job.”

Kulap is now 27-years-old. As she has grown up and matured, she has overcome the fears she once had at an early age. “I am kind of proud of myself,” said Kulap. “I also have more self-confidence. I still cry sometimes, but I can work with various people in my current job. I am much better than when I was a child. I am very happy that ZOE continues to help more children who are in the same situation as I was. If there is no ZOE, many children living in the dark, hopeless world might not know how they will continue to live. ZOE taught me to walk on the right path. They always protect me, walk alongside me, love me, and keep me comforted. They gave me what was lacking in my life. ZOE trained me to grow up and become a quality leader. ZOE is a place that provides love and safety. It is a place that trains and teaches children like their own children. ZOE is a place that gives hope and a future. I pray that ZOE will receive abundant blessings and not lack anything. I pray for blessings over the staff and missionaries that are serving there now and in the future. I pray they will all be strengthened by God and He will continue pouring out blessings upon them.”

*Pseudonym: ZOE protects the identity and dignity of children and does not show trafficked children. Kulap permitted us to share her story to honor what God has done in her life while being under ZOE’s care.

God’s Favor Has Been on ZOE From the Beginning

February 8, 2022

When ZOE Founders Michael and Carol Hart first moved to Thailand in 2002, their faith in the Lord was stretched. “I couldn’t see the beauty around me because I was so fearful,” said Carol Hart. “Everything, everywhere, every day was scary for me. At that time, my faith in God was weak. I was questioning, will God provide for ZOE and all that we need every day?”

Six months before the Harts started ZOE, the US State Department had just begun. Trafficking in Thailand was a criminal enterprise, and they didn’t have experience in law enforcement. Unfortunately, there was no one to learn from or follow, no experts to ask, or conferences to attend. “We had to figure out how to live in this extremely foreign country and learn quickly what human trafficking looks like. We had to learn how to find a child who is trapped in this situation and understand how we can legally do this kind of work in this country.”

The children’s home the Harts took over was on the verge of closing. “We had 47 teenagers in our care,” added Carol. “We were told so many scary stories from those who came our way currently doing what we were going to do. We didn’t know one Thai person.”

The Harts did not believe their purpose and mission was to help only a few and put band-aids on the child trafficking problem. “Since day one, we have prayed and agonized over this heinous crime against children. We studied ferociously with the ultimate goal to end child trafficking,” said Mike and Carol. “As we worked, we asked this question, ‘How can we end it in a developing nation like Thailand and someday prove how to end it in a developed nation like the USA?.'”

Michael and Carol’s hearts broke as they learned about the depths of sin and corruption centered around child trafficking. Each day they cried out to the Lord, face down, laying on the ground praying for guidance from Him.

“We built up our team in Thailand and began to work with the Thai Police and little by little rescue children,” said Carol. “As the rescues would happen, we learned that there wasn’t a place for the children to get help from the trauma that they experienced from being trafficked or even protected from dangerous situations. We began asking ourselves, ‘How are the traffickers getting these children?’ For years, it was as if we were in the river, pulling children to safety. But then, we began to look upstream asking, ‘Who is throwing these children in the river?’ This was when our eyes turned to prevention as well.

The Harts worked tirelessly for 2 1/2 years to establish ZOE Thailand’s non-governmental organization (NGO), granting them legal status by Thailand’s government, which enabled the foundation to own and operate ZOE Children’s Homes. Today, ZOE Thailand sits on a 35-acre campus, housing a home that can accommodate up to 250 children, a boys’ shelter, and a Child Rescue Center. ZOE also operates a 2-year, live-in leadership school for young adults, focusing on developing indigenous leaders, child advocates, and evangelists.

God’s favor has been on ZOE from the beginning with numerous miraculous stories of rescue and restoration, unsolicited generosity, partnership with local and federal governments, and gifted team members brought at just the right time.

“As we look back and reflect over the last 20 years, we are in awe at His promises and provision to us and all that God has done through ZOE,” shared Mike and Carol. “He has brought the people and provided the funding. We are indebted to our God who is FAITHFUL and REAL and TRUE and allows us to continue this work to fight to reach people with the gospel and rescue children.”

“I hear their cries, and I need your life…”

January 17, 2022
Michael and Carol Hart first heard about human trafficking in 2002. “A visiting missionary spoke at our church and shared that people in Thailand are buying and selling children for sex and labor,” shared Carol Hart, ZOE Founder, and President. “We learned that day that a person can get a little boy and little girl MENU on the street corner and choose who they want for the night. I felt like I screamed out loud! I was so shocked, and I continued to scream inside as I heard that children were being enslaved in my generation. I couldn’t believe it!”
When Carol was a young child
When Carol was a young child, her parents shared with her and her siblings about slavery happening in the U.S. “I remember watching the mini-series Roots and feeling crazy mad at that part of our history,” shared Carol. “I felt so frustrated, and I cried and cried in anguish wishing I could help rescue just ONE person – to cover them with my body so they wouldn’t feel the whip or give them relief from the cruelty and pure evil they were experiencing. Even if I died trying to help them, I meant it. I thought to myself, where are all the Christians? I went to God in prayer, and I remember hearing Him say, it wasn’t my generation, so it’s not my fight. You can’t do anything about the past but learn from it. So, with God’s help, I let it go.”
Carol learned about the Holocaust from her parents
Later, Carol learned about the Holocaust from her parents as a young adult, and she felt the same fierce anger she experienced as a young child. “I was so angry to tears, and still today I cry about it,” said Carol. “I thought, where was everyone when this happened? And like before, I had to go to God to get relief from the pain and sorrow I felt because I would have given anything to save ONE innocent JEWISH man-woman-child. But like I heard God say before, there’s nothing you can do about the past – learn from it.”
It’s my generation, my fight
Fast forward to that day at church when Mike and Carol heard what was happening to children who were enslaved in other countries. “I ran to my office at the church where I was working and fell on my knees in tears and cried out to God, ‘I am alive, and this is my generation, and so it’s my fight,'” said Carol. “I know you are doing something about it because you are a good God. So Father, please allow me to help. Anything, anything I have, anything you ask. When I shared my anguish with my husband Michael, he felt the same way, and we both knew we needed to act. Together we crawled up into God’s heart in prayer and waited for a response. Five days later, we heard God say, ‘I hear their cries, and I need your life. Don’t worry about money. I have people who have my heart that will help you.’ ”
God’s favor has been on ZOE from the beginning with numerous miraculous stories of rescue and restoration, unsolicited generosity, partnership with local and federal governments, and gifted team members brought at just the right time.
“As we look back and reflect over the last 20 years, we are in awe at His promises and provision to us and all that God has done through ZOE,” shared Mike and Carol. “He has brought the people and provided the funding. We are indebted to our God who is FAITHFUL and REAL and TRUE.”

ZOE International: A Mission to Share the Gospel and Help End Child Trafficking

December 22, 2021

This year, ZOE International celebrates 20 years of reaching those who have not yet heard about Jesus and rescuing children from the horrors of human trafficking. ZOE is named after the Greek word for LIFE in the Bible. Jesus said, ‘I came that they may have LIFE (ZOE) and have it abundantly.’ ZOE Founders Michael and Carol Hart unapologetically lead with their faith in God as the only Source who can truly change lives for the better.

“It is shocking in our modern world that 3.3 billion people have never heard about Jesus or what He came to earth to do for them,” said Michael Hart, ZOE Founder, and CEO. “Even though we have radios, television, and the internet, many don’t know that God created them and loves them. We as Christians must do something about that.”

When Michael and Carol Hart founded ZOE International in 2002, they were excited to start in a foreign country where the population was less than 1% Christian, and the gospel was needed. “We think it is unfair that some have heard about Jesus multiple times and others have never heard about Him,” said Michael. “We aim for the rest of our lives to make that right by leading every day in the Great Commission. Until every person is reached with the gospel, we aren’t done. Until every child is rescued, we aren’t done. We accomplish this by training and empowering leaders in their nation. They know the language and the culture and are much better than us at reaching their people.”

ZOE has also never been ‘headline-driven; they began their work 20 years ago when human trafficking was not yet on the global stage, and very little could be found on the subject. ZOE Founder and President Carol Hart added, “Many people feel overwhelmed by the enormity and darkness of child trafficking. It is difficult to believe that the buying, selling, and trading of children exists, but it does. We have the power to do something about it! God’s love for people motivates our global first responders, advocates, restoration and prevention teams, our generous donors, and all who work with us each day to keep fighting for freedom and every child touched by this evil.

In the beginning, the reasons not to do this work were overwhelming, but our hearts were in total agreement when God clearly spoke to us, ‘I hear their cries, and I need your life….’ So we set up ZOE International, our 501(c)(3) in Santa Clarita, California, sold what we had, and moved to Thailand, where we didn’t know one person. It was scary because we were unqualified. We had no experience doing this type of work. Our personal money would someday run dry, and we only had a handful of donors. We needed to provide for 47 children at risk for trafficking from day one. In part, we also knew that the buyers and sellers of children were fueled by criminals and sometimes very powerful people. We had no protection, nothing that could help us in their country. But we had God, and we were sure He was leading us, and we were following the vision He put in our hearts. 

GOD taught us how to navigate successfully in a foreign land all these years. It was He who removed the ‘impossible’ that always seemed to be in our way. We know God speaks to people to send the finances needed. We never had to stop moving forward and taking ground. It was He who provided our daily protection. We had front row seats to watch the gentle way God would open the hearts to generations of lost souls and heal the broken hearts of children from trauma.

For ZOE to succeed in this work, it takes that ‘1 in a million’ employee/volunteer who can truly love the people we serve. We have the privilege to serve alongside the most devoted-selfless-brilliant individuals.

Because of our desperate need for God’s involvement every day, we are firsthand witnesses and Master Historians of His faithfulness. There would be no success, no ZOE if God were not real,” said Carol.

From the beginning, God’s favor has been on ZOE with numerous miraculous stories of rescue and restoration, unsolicited generosity, important partnerships with local and federal governments, and law enforcement. People of all ages are coming to Christ in seemingly some of the most challenging and far-flung places.

“It takes an army of dedicated people to sacrifice and give to support our work,” said Michael. “Our donors are just as important as our front-line workers. That front-line worker will never scoop a child up in their arms without the donor behind them or share the gospel in hostile areas without our donors right beside them. We are in the places we are in and doing the work we are doing thanks to our beloved donors.”

Although human trafficking is thought to be more active in other countries, ZOE knows the desperate need to work right here at home in America due to the fast-growing domestic child trafficking crisis. “Children and families here and worldwide are manipulated, lied to, coerced, and forced into seemingly hopeless situations by traffickers. Their main targets have been the poor, unprotected, uncared for orphans/foster children. Today, children from ‘wealthy – normal’ families are equally at risk. Traffickers don’t discriminate. Their prey is as young as infants. They are greedy opportunists. If we don’t push back, the trafficker’s reach will continue to grow. 

We were influenced and raised to fight for fairness and freedom in our beloved America. But it is because we are believers in Jesus Christ that gives us the courage and the drive to do the right thing. Human Trafficking is the 21st Century’s Human Rights issue globally. After 20 years of looking for long-term solutions to end child trafficking, we have a path to freedom, but we need the local Church,” said Carol. “We believe that the Body of Christ carries the answer inside of each of us for every crisis on earth.”

As ZOE celebrates its 20th anniversary, ZOE International is looking ahead to reach the masses and share the gospel through media and technology. “Yes, the solution is audaciously huge,” said Michael. “Some people comment that it is ridiculous to say that the gospel is the answer to stopping human trafficking. From our experience, we know when it is narrowed down to the hurting person in front of us – they need to know Jesus.”

ZOE operates in the United States, Thailand, Australia, Japan, and Mexico and employs over 190 people globally. 

ZOE’s Advocacy Program in Los Angeles

November 2, 2021
Through ZOE’s Advocacy Program in Los Angeles, we serve children and families who have been impacted by human trafficking or highly at risk of trafficking. We are so thankful for our amazing partners who provide opportunities and experiences for the children we serve. Recently, ZOE partnered with New Dawn Foundation to provide an experience with horses, which has been found to be therapeutic and healing for survivors of trauma and trafficking.
Most of the teens were excited to walk the ponies, pet and brush them, and even guide them through obstacles. Later, the group had time to process what everyone was feeling and thinking.
In one instance, a teen was hesitant to engage. A pony continued to walk over to her, brush up against her, trying to get her attention. Eventually, the teen pet it gently and participated in the next activity. At the end of the day, the youth whispered:
“I loved it.”
If you would like to learn more about how you can be a part of the healing and restoration of the children ZOE serves, contact

ZOE USA receives license to open ZOE Home for Youth in Los Angeles

September 17, 2021

We are so excited to have finally received our license to open the ZOE Home for Youth (ZHY). “From 2016, when we closed escrow and submitted our plans to receiving our license to open, God has been guiding us, answering prayers and performing miracles along the way,” said Vickie McCoy, ZHY Residential Manager.

Australians Respond to Modern-day Slavery

September 17, 2021

ZOE Australia has been working hard to communicate that awareness, education, and support make a difference in seeing children rescued, loved, restored, and healed!

“Our Pathways to Preventing Child Trafficking course equips Australians to respond to modern-day slavery spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and pragmatically,” said David Cross, ZOE Australia Director. “We have nearly 60 students currently enrolled in the online course. We believe that our toolkits help bring awareness to various industries and social-action groups. For faith-based communities we have prayer-based guides which focus on God’s heart for the fatherless. By using ZOE’s curriculums, toolkits, and guides, individuals, groups, and whole communities better understand the problem of human trafficking and work to change their actions towards others – whether directly or indirectly.” ZOE Australia

ZOE Japan Brings Awareness to Tokyo Olympics

September 17, 2021

With UK nonprofit, It’s a Penalty, ZOE Japan worked on the frontlines of a large-scale human trafficking awareness campaign for the Tokyo Summer 2021 Olympics, held July 23rd through August 8th.


“We are excited to have worked together with It’s a Penalty to raise awareness of human trafficking around the Tokyo Summer Olympics,” said Hiromi Hataji, ZOE Japan Regional Director.

“We prepared various campaign materials and distributed videos, posters, and other awareness materials at airports, train stations, participating hotel groups, and other key locations. The ZOE Japan team also established a new call center that was used during the Olympics and that we will continue to use ongoingly. We have received calls from concerned family members and directly from potential survivors of human trafficking.”

ZOE Japan is spearheading the call center and owns the number, but support for survivors is provided in collaboration with other NPOs that are also members of JNATIP (Japan Network Against Trafficking In Persons).

“By utilizing this professional network, we are able not only to provide support to children but also to connect adult survivors with specialist organizations that can support them,” said Hiromi.

“The call center number is the official number used for the It’s A Penalty campaign, providing a great amount of exposure.  And, now that the Olympics are over, we are continuing to use the same call center number for cases related to children.”

Learn more about the Tokyo Olympics human trafficking awareness campaign.


It’s a Penalty campaign video shown on the Tokyo Metro, the Haneda Airport, Shibuya Crossing, on Emirates, Japan Airlines, and Cathay Pacific Flights.

ZOE Mexico Team Educates Pastors and NGOs About Child Trafficking

September 17, 2021

Like most countries, many of Mexico’s citizens have never heard of human trafficking. ZOE Mexico is working on innovative ways to educate its citizens about human trafficking. Currently, the team is focusing on speaking with pastors and their churches who are hungry to know how they can help.

Our ZOE Mexico team has also met with several government departments about what steps we can take to inform the public and educate communities about child trafficking, especially the most vulnerable areas. The government recently launched a campaign to bring awareness to human trafficking. Our team is also working with other NGOs to communicate about the problem and dangers to those they serve.

What is Fueling Child Trafficking in Mexico?

  1. Organized crime and greedy opportunists recruit children with force, fraud, or coercion for labor and sex.
  2. Poverty fuels child trafficking – most families do not understand where their children end up; they want to believe the trafficker. They believe their child is safe, going to school, or working a job for a better future.

“We met a mother on the streets with two of her small children involved in high-risk behavior,” said Mauricio Ruiz, Mexico Director.

“Our team encouraged her to allow her children to attend school to get them off the streets. She finally agreed, and the two children are signed up to attend “E Kids School,” a Christian school for at-risk children. These children will receive more than just a great education. They will receive delicious meals and all of their immediate needs met in a safe and loving environment. They will also have an opportunity to hear about Jesus!”

ZOE Thailand Re-Focuses its Awareness Efforts in Light of Third Lockdown

September 17, 2021

In early July, Thailand placed 10 million people in the capital under new coronavirus restrictions. “With COVID, the whole country shut down,” said Les Ginoza, ZOE Thailand Director. “We had to change the way we have done our awareness programs quickly.”

The ZOE Thailand team focused on creating media and educating underage kids to prevent them from being exploited.

“We developed a lot of videos because we could no longer go village to village or go into schools,” said Les. “When we did that, our reach increased. We were able to touch a lot more people with our awareness program. Although Covid is a terrible issue, God always shows us the silver lining.”

The pandemic and loss of tourism income has thrown millions in Thailand into poverty. “We quickly changed our focus to help provide basic food necessities to the neediest of families,” said Les. “In partnership with Children’s Hunger Fund we donated food packs to families while also sharing the gospel and God’s love for them. Families have been overwhelmed with gratitude.”

Child Rescue Team

Recently, ZOE Thailand welcomed 16 members of the Foreign Anti-Narcotic and Crime Community of Thailand (FANC) who represent law enforcement from ten different countries.

“This was the very first time we had an international community of law enforcement come together to discuss human trafficking,” said Les. “The group began to work on a plan to better track down perpetrators who have left Thailand and have gone back to their native countries. This is a big issue that we are trying to resolve, and it takes coordination from the entire international community.”

Thailand ZOE Team