Ending child trafficking starts with one

(Graphic cred: Family Christian)

(Graphic credit Family Christian)

Dominican Republic (MNN) — Remember the Family Christian Stores project we told you about last month? In case you don’t, we’ll bring you up-to-speed: Family Christian and Destiny Rescue are linking arms to end child trafficking in the Dominican Republic, the world’s fourth-largest trafficking hub.

As Destiny Rescue leads on-the-ground operations, Family Christian is coming alongside to help. The Christian retail chain is raising awareness in their online and in-store communities, giving all of last week’s profits to the new project and surrounding it regularly in prayer.

“There are no registered or recognized safe homes for trafficked or sexually-abused children in the country,” explains Destiny Rescue’s Peter Everett. He and his wife will be heading up Destiny Rescue’s work in the DR.

“Our heart is to rescue these young girls–and boys–that are being enslaved.”

The Dominican Republic is “disturbingly distinguishable” as the world’s fourth-largest exporter of women into sex slavery. Approximately 800 Haitian children are trafficked across the border each month, and many local kids fall victim to foreign tourists who travel to the DR specifically to exploit children.

According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index, nearly 36 million people worldwide are trapped in modern day slavery. Over 60% are located in just five countries: India, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia.

“In 2007, God just captured my heart, and He asked me one simple question: ‘What are you going to do about it?'” Everett recalls.

Ending child trafficking means answering tough questions

Children stand for sale in the red light district.  (Photo cred: Destiny Rescue)

Children stand for sale in the red light district.
(Photo credit Destiny Rescue)

Each person who comes across this story, or one like it, must provide an answer. Will you ignore the problem, assuming someone else will respond, or will you take action and be part of ending child trafficking?

Everett responded by working with Destiny Rescue to save kids from trafficking and introduce them to Christ. You can do the same by partnering with Family Christian here.

Fundraising is one of the ways Family Christian is helping Destiny Rescue start work in the DR. They’re trying to raise $150,000 USD to get anti-human trafficking work started on the island. But that’s not even close to what’s needed to establish the program.

There are three different stages to this project, Everett shares, which were mapped out months ago:

  1. Stage One — Registering with the Dominican Republic government and obtaining an official NGO license; leasing property and buying materials needed for the safe house: beds, sheets, biblical and vocational materials, etc.; hiring staff and security.
  2. Stage Two — Figuring out costs of operation for a 12-month period so that a monthly budget can be drawn up.
  3. Stage Three — Expand into a second safe house and start the process again.

“About 60% of all the children we’ll rescue will be Haitian,” says Everett.

(Photo cred: Destiny Rescue)

(Photo cred: Destiny Rescue)

He then recalls one of the rescue operations he took part in, explaining that when he got up to leave (as part of the operational process), the little girl he was talking to wouldn’t let go of his arm. Everett says she begged him not to leave because he was the only person she felt safe with.

“If it was your son or your daughter, what would you do to get these kids out?” Everett asks.

“What would you want me to do? How far would you want me to push to get your child to a safe home?”

As you pray about your response to these questions, remember the words of Wilber Wilberforce: “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”