ZOE protects the identity and dignity of children and does not show trafficked children.
ZOE was founded in the United States as a non-profit 501(c)3 organisation in 2002 by Michael and Carol Hart. In 2003, ZOE International Foundation began in Thailand and has since been granted legal status by the government of Thailand, enabling the foundation to own and operate ZOE Children’s Homes. ZOE Foundation Australia was established as a not-for-profit in 2011. In 2017, ZOE was granted not-for-profit status by both the government of Mexico and Japan.
ZOE International Foundation has been combating human trafficking in Thailand since 2003 utilising the “3 Ps” strategy: Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution. We exist to restore hope and joy to children who have been robbed of their childhood. Our specialty is the protection and restoration of children at risk, and survivors of all forms of child trafficking. Our core competencies include comprehensive top quality care covering physical, social, intellectual and emotional health. Our restoration efforts are predicated on holistic healing and trauma-informed care with our highest priority to safely repatriate children by locating and assessing their families for reunification. While all of our staff are trained in trauma-informed care, we also employ licensed social workers and counsellors who provide case management, individual and group therapy, and on-going psycho-social assessments. ZOE also employs educators, on-site translators and legal advisors. While under ZOE’s care, we provide nutritional meals, medical care, quality education, vocational training, fun recreation and family activities, Life Skills training, and other essentials to minors in a safe, protected family-style environment which has produced proven long-term positive results for survivors of child trafficking. ZOE’s Child Protection Policy (CPP) and Media Policy are among the most stringent we have seen and protect the identity, and dignity, of children by never showing trafficked children in any media.
ZOE’s aftercare program is based on a 'family unit' model utilising an average caretaker-to-child ratio of 1:4. We are the #1 choice of aftercare provider for members of Thailand's Anti-Trafficking Multi-Disciplinary Task Force and, in 2013, the Thai Ministry of Social Welfare brought the directors of all government aftercare facilities in Thailand to ZOE to observe and learn how we do 'family'. Since the inception of our Awareness Program in 2008, ZOE has brought trafficking awareness to over 20,000 people, primarily in rural tribal villages that are highly susceptible to trafficking. These teams provide information, education, and resources to villagers in an informative manner. As a result of establishing relationships in these villages, ZOE has built up a network of over 300+ leaders and critical contacts who provide information on suspected or imminent human trafficking activities. ZOE receives about 250 calls on our human trafficking hotline annually. ZOE provides real-world Life Skills training to prepare children to enter society equipped with the knowledge to lead independent lives and we have a Transitional Program and home for children 18 years and older to help them adjust to adulthood successfully. We also have a scholarship program for those who wish to pursue post-secondary education including university and specialised vocational training.
In 2010, ZOE built a 40,000 square foot facility increasing its capacity to accommodate up to 250 children; built and opened a 60-bed, 8,060 square foot boys’ shelter in 2013; and completed work on its new $1.2 million Child Rescue Center in 2017. ZOE also operates a 2-year, live-in leadership school for young adults with a focus on developing indigenous anti-trafficking advocates and evangelists. They are trained in leadership, moral/biblical-based instruction, practical vocational skills, English/Thai language classes and business skills.
ZOE has partnered with the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons through a 3-year, $500,000 grant for ZOE’s Enhanced Victim Protection Services program that has enabled us to develop and implement a robust vocational program that prepares children for success in their areas of career interest and which has been cited by State Department inspectors as among the best they have seen. In addition, grant funds have been used to provide expert training for childcare providers at ZOE as well as 60 other agencies in a variety of subject areas. A portion of this grant was required to be funded by ZOE through matching funds. This 'matching portion' was mainly provided by ZOE Foundation Australia. ZOE has an active self-sustainability program on our 33-acre campus including organic crop production, organic animal husbandry, a fish farm, and water conservation.
At ZOE we strongly believe that the best, long-term and sustainable results will be achieved by working alongside local and international governments – particularly law enforcement agencies and by providing the protection, care, loving support, and assistance that child victims need as they go through the criminal proceedings for their cases. ZOE is active across the board in the fight against human trafficking working with both national and local governments, partnering with international and local nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), and assisting law enforcement. The Thai government has certified ZOE as a Non-Governmental Organisation for the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking, one of only a handful of such organisations in Chiang Mai Province. ZOE is also a member of Thailand's Anti-Trafficking Multi-Disciplinary Task Force working closely with the Thai Ministry of Social Welfare and Human Security, Immigration Department, Police Region 5, provincial police, and the Chiang Mai Shelter for Children and Families. ZOE is also an active member of Thailand’s TIP Forum established by the U.S. State Department through the U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai to support collaborative actions to combat trafficking in Thailand. In both of these arenas, we also partner with other experienced NGOs including International Justice Mission, World Vision, and the MAP Foundation. ZOE also works extensively with Children’s Hunger Fund to help alleviate poverty in order to reduce vulnerability to trafficking. ZOE is a founding member of the ACT House (Children’s Advocacy Centre Thailand). The project is a collaboration between Royal Thai Police, Australian Federal Police, FBI, U.S. Homeland Security Investigation, National Crime Agency of England and Italian, French, and Swiss police. Other partners include the Thai Office of Immigration, Department of Social Welfare, and International Justice Mission. At ACT House, teens have a safe place to hang out, learn a skill, play games, and befriend responsible adults who are there to help them. The result has been a wealth of information on the child trafficking scene in Chiang Mai leading to investigations, raids, arrests, and strong testimonies resulting in successful prosecutions. On July 21, 2016, ZOE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between 71 Thai government agencies – including the Vice Governor of Chiang Mai Province as well as the Chief of the Department of Social Welfare – and a host of Thai and foreign NGOs to support common goals and strategies in the fight against trafficking. In addition, ZOE Children’s Home is one of only five non-government organisations in Chiang Mai invited by the Thai government in 2013 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, “Guideline on Protection of Safety and Rights, Prevention and Solving Human Trafficking Problems, Chiangmai Province,” with the Thai Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.