All Posts in Stories of Survival

January 2, 2017 - Comments Off on FAMILY ASSESSMENT: In the best interest of the whole family

FAMILY ASSESSMENT: In the best interest of the whole family

Upon hearing the good news, “They found her family,” you could mistakenly think, well, that was easy! But what most people don’t realise is that, just like a rescue mission to find a child, searching and finding a child’s family members can be just as difficult.

Through winding dusty roads in desperate need of repair, narrow turns, and steep mountainous terrain, the travel was difficult for this case, even for the experienced ZOE social work team. It would turn out to be a long and arduous journey.

Aoy* was rescued and brought to ZOE when she was just a small girl but now this bright young lady is about to finish her schooling with plans to study at university in the coming years. As she approaches adulthood, she has so many questions and seeks answers about her past.

At ZOE, the social work team is continuously doing Family Assessments. In Aoy’s case, they had been working with the small pieces of information that they had to search for family members on her father’s side. Aoy has never met them before and the team had little to go on as to where to find them.

After many ups and downs and tiny clues to follow, the team was finally able to locate her family. Her grandparents also had many questions, and the team was able to explain to them how ZOE had taken care of Aoy all these years.


Of course, Aoy was delighted at the news that her relatives had been found.


It was the missing jigsaw piece in the puzzle of her life. She too had many questions to ask and stories to share. Since the ZOE social work team found her family members, Aoy has been able to go and meet them and more visits have been planned for the upcoming school break.

For the ZOE social work team, it may be another case closed but for Aoy it has opened up the door to the many questions she had about her background and origin.




*Not her real name

October 19, 2016 - Comments Off on The 13-year-old girl with the courage to run.

The 13-year-old girl with the courage to run.

Prayers were answered in a mighty way recently when a 13-year-old girl had the courage to run away from a brothel.  She contacted authorities and gave them pictures of other girls who were still being held in the brothel.

ZOE Child Rescue (ZCR) was called along with other NGO’s (non-government organizations.) ZOE traveled 14 hours to Northern Thailand. Along with government authorities, ZOE helped create a plan to raid a Karaoke bar which they knew had the girls from the brothel inside.

The plan was a success! The federal police shut down the bar, identified themselves and rescued the 12 girls. The ZCR social worker team worked diligently and compassionately throughout the night to care for these girls until Thai social services was able to get them to safety.

The rescue itself is seldom the end of the ZCR teams involvement in a case. In this case it required many hours or preparation and planning and then after the rescue a number of days of round the clock work to make sure these girls were safe. Once the girls were moved to a safe location, the ZOE team was advised to leave the area because it wasn’t safe anymore for them to be there.

God hears the cries of the lost and when we pray He sends out His people to rescue them.


Please help ZOE to fight for these children. The commercial sexual exploitation of children remains a problem. Children – particularly children from migrant and poor populations who may be forced, coerced, or lured into sex trafficking. In some cases, relatives exploit children for profit.


March 15, 2016 - Comments Off on What is the ZOE Child Rescue Center?

What is the ZOE Child Rescue Center?

As Rob shared in the video, we are more excited about how the new ZOE Child Rescue Centre can be used by ZOE to help us better care for children than we are by the construction. We have been asked by some people, what is the purpose of the CRC? Is it needed? Is it worth the significant investment? What happens if you build this and then you only help a handful of kids?

We have no problem defending ZOE's belief that we will do whatever it takes to find and rescue these children. They are worth it! So, at ZOE we are creating the right tools to be able to help the 'good guys' win!

First-hand-witness accounts for the harsh reality that, none of our team is a 'hero' to a child once they are rescued; and the notion of a child running into our arms with tears rolling down their cheeks is just not the reality we face. These children are broken, angry and initially they add all of us to the list of people they hate with a passion. The bigger problem however, is the problem of trust. After years of being lied to and being mistreated, they basically trust no-one. So, if an opportunity presents itself to them they will run; and if that happened ... where would they go? Most likely, somewhere familiar to them, which would lead them straight back to the 'bad guys'.

Our task is to help the police and the social welfare team to remove them from danger, and try and keep them safe. As we seek to achieve these things, we know that with every minute that passes, here in front of us is a child who is broken, hurting and is desperate for someone to love them.

Given the state of the children when they come to ZOE, we know that we need to provide for them a unique place. We need time to build trust with the children, and we need an environment that is safe and friendly. We need somewhere where the 'good guys' who will be helping the child, are able to come and meet with them.

That place is the new Child Rescue Centre...


ZOE’s Child Rescue Centre will serve as a specialised site where representatives from law enforcement, government, and NGO's work together to identify and serve victims of child trafficking. Team members from a wide range of services will collaborate to do the following:

  • provide sensitive, victim-centred care
  • address the children’s immediate needs
  • assess for evidence of child trafficking
  • reduce the need for children to retell the details of their abuse

This phase of care will focus on the following:

  • Child-friendly Environment: The Child Rescue Centre (CRC) environment will be comfortable and non-threatening. It will include rest areas, a kitchen, a first-aid room, a forensic interview room, an observation bay, a meeting room, workspace, a private waiting area, a guest room and bathroom for overnight stays for representatives of partner agencies; and a spacious, secure outside area for exercise or relaxation.
  • Immediate Needs: When a child is brought to the CRC, the first course of action will be the assessment and provision of that child’s immediate needs (e.g. food, shower, hygiene items, and clothing). Basic first-aid services and crisis mental health care will also be provided onsite as needed. The CRC will also have a free store for the child to pick out clothes, under garments, shoes, and hygiene products of their own choosing and liking.
  • Initial Interview: After the child’s immediate needs have been met – and when the child is ready – a preliminary interview will be conducted. The interview will help to identify the child’s short-term needs. It will also provide team members the opportunity to begin identifying and documenting evidence of human trafficking and other abuses. Interviews will be conducted in a child-friendly environment by trained childcare staff, forensic interviewers and law enforcement officials as appropriate to each child’s circumstance. Multidisciplinary team members will observe the interviews from a discreet observation bay, reducing the need for children to retell painful details of their victimisation.
  • Proven Model: The model we have based our CRC on has been used internationally for many years to identify and assist victims of child abuse. This collaborative service model has proven to be highly effective in two key areas: higher levels of child satisfaction and dramatic increases in prosecution rates.
  • Emergency Shelter and Safe House:  The CRC will serve as an emergency shelter and safe house where children will receive refuge and trauma-informed services for as long as necessary.  Thus, services can be provided to children in a seamless manner at one location.


Read more about how ZOE's help to restore children


Video update: August 2016 -click here!


August 23, 2015 - Comments Off on Survival Story: Jungle Boy

Survival Story: Jungle Boy

The hill tribe life in Thailand is tough under the best of circumstances.  Isolated by washed out, treacherous mountain roads, hours from electricity or paved streets, the people of the hills live a hardscrabble life.  Food comes by the sweat of hard labour, while creature comforts are rare indeed.

For a little boy with no mum or dad, a hot bowl of rice or a dry place to sleep during the cold mountain rains was a luxury only dreamed of. Orphaned at 6, Yindee spent a year living in the mountain jungle, silently slipping in and out of villages under the cover of night to forage for scraps. Nobody in the village wanted another mouth to feed but someone got word to ZOE about the “jungle boy.”

Suffice it to say that the process of bringing Yindee to ZOE was not easy.  His clothes were so filthy and flea-infested, we literally had to burn them. His matted hair was shaved completely off to rid him of lice.  He had to be washed no less than three times before he was clean.

When he arrived at ZOE, Yindee didn’t speak; he growled.  When everyone else sat down to eat, he would grab his food off the plate and run away to hide while he ate.  It took days before he was convinced that no one would take his food from him.

It truly is amazing how quickly transformation came.  Yindee soon was running around laughing and playing with the kids.  He finally consented to sleeping in his bed rather than under it.  One day, not long after arriving, Yindee walked up to a staff member.  Bowing low in a deep wai, he said “Thank you for saving me.”  Hugging him tight, the staffer said “Yindee, you should thank God, not me.”  He looked in her eyes and said “I already have.  And now I’m thanking you!”

The little jungle boy who didn’t read, write, or smile had truly come home!



March 6, 2015 - Comments Off on Survival Story: The 3 Amigos

Survival Story: The 3 Amigos

ZOE rescued three teenage boys from a brothel.  The oldest boy – and the biggest and strongest of the three – was literally an enforcer at the brothel. His job was to make sure the other younger boys, including the two we rescued with him, were doing their ‘jobs.’  If they weren’t, he would beat them.

It was quite a tense situation after their rescue when they came and were integrated into the Children’s Home.  Naturally, the two younger boys despised the older one fervently.

Well, one evening a week, we have a time of prayer when the entire ZOE family – children, staff, ministry school students, and missionaries – gathers in the worship room to pray for an hour.  It’s a very special and anointed time.  We turn the lights down soft, play some inspiring worship music, and everyone prays in his or her own style on their own or goes about praying for others.

During one prayer night, one of the missionaries was sitting by the older boy.  The two other boys were walking around praying for other people.  As they neared the older boy, one said, “Let’s pray for him.”  But the other boy said, “No”, and they walked away.  A little while later the two boys returned and started praying for him.  At that point, the older boy put his arms around the two younger ones and all three began praying for each other.

After that night of prayer, those three boys were like the Three Musketeers or Three Amigos of the ZOE Children’s Homes!

We see that kind of spiritual and emotional healing on a regular basis at ZOE and it fuels our passion to keep going in the face of some of the awful things we encounter in the arena of human trafficking.

February 17, 2015 - Comments Off on Survival Story: SHE NOW OWNS A SMILE

Survival Story: SHE NOW OWNS A SMILE

Momay was rescued from a very dangerous situation. With her mother deceased and her father an alcoholic, she was left alone with several men night after night at her father’s construction work site while he was passed out drunk. She was a prime target for traffickers to take her into the slave trade.

Thankfully, we were told of her situation and brought her to ZOE Children’s Homes. She came wearing a worn dusty dress and carrying a small plastic grocery bag which contained all of her earthly possessions. A smile was not something she seemed to have in her plastic bag or in her heart.

She was timid and withdrawn when she first walked through our doors, but within weeks as we showered her with love and care, she blossomed. She became a joyful, hopeful and playful little girl, able to love and be loved. She now owns a smile. She now holds in her heart a promising future. She is no longer marked to be a victim for traffickers; and she will never again be one!