Orphan’s Heart is focused on expanding and bolstering its global ministry efforts. As part of our strategy to impact as many children and families as possible, we are strengthening and equipping our global ministry partners to further recognize the signs of sex trafficking and help draw enslaved children and teens out of the unthinkable.
Our focal point in Romania is working with ministry partners to bring hope and healing to children in orphanages and Gypsy villages and to abandoned babies being cared for through foster care.
According to the U.S. Department of State, the Romanian government opened 864 new human trafficking cases in 2016. Of the victims identified by government authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGO), 47 percent were children. “As reported over the past five years, Romania is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and women and children subjected to sex trafficking,” states a 2016 report from the U.S. Department of State. “Romania is a significant source of sex and labor trafficking victims throughout Europe.” Equipping individuals, organizations and churches to be activists in the fight against sex trafficking is crucial because the Romanian government does not provide direct funding to NGOs.
In October, a group from our Women of Compassion ministry hosted a women’s conference at a local church in Oradea, Romania. As part of the day-long event that was steeped in Biblical ways to engage culture, the topic of sex trafficking was addressed. That portion of the conference focused on facts to know about trafficking, signs to look for and ways to pray as the fight to expose and defeat the despicable crime continues.
In September, President Dr. Haag and Andrew Tattrie, vice president of international childcare for Orphan’s Heart, traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica to meet with ministry partners in the area. In addition to two feeding programs established by Orphan’s Heart, our partner’s mission is to bring hope to individuals involved in sex trafficking in the country.
According to the U.S. Department of State, “Costa Rican women and children are subjected to sex trafficking within the country, with those living in the north and central Pacific coastal zones being particularly vulnerable.” Costa Rica is a Tier 2 Watch List country, not meeting TVPA standards but making significant efforts, because Costa Rica’s “absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing.”
“Education and advocacy are the vehicles to identifying and reporting abuse, ultimately bringing light into the dark world of human trafficking, domestically and globally,” stated Michele Newsome, director of community relations for The Porch Light. “It is through education and awareness trainings and events that many people learn they have been exploited as well as recognize signs of abuse regarding a friend or loved one. Once the abuse has been identified, they are able to report it and begin to seek services and ultimately healing.”
Ready to join the anti-trafficking fight with us? Start today!