ZOE protects the identity and dignity of children and does not show trafficked children.
ZOE provide safety and shelter for orphans, children deemed to be highly at risk of trafficking by ZOE’s Child Rescue Department, and children rescued directly from slavery.
Initially children may need emergency protection and will be cared for at the ZOE Child Rescue Center. Depending on the needs of the individual child and whether relatives can be located, the Department of Social Welfare may recommend a child move into a ZOE family for medium or long-term care.
ZOE will always act in the best interests of the each child. From coordinating the child’s transition into her or his new home to providing continued support in all areas of life, the goal of our Aftercare program is to restore the child’s life. Our care is based on a family model. We have a ZOE parent-to-child ratio between 1:1 and 1:6, depending on the age and special needs of each child. We accept children between the ages of 0 to 17 years old. For ZOE children 18 years or older, we provide continued support and offer scholarships for those pursuing higher education. Several former ZOE children have graduated from University and returned to ZOE to work as staff. These individuals serve as house parents in the Child Rescue Department, offering legal assistance, teaching children, and providing architectural expertise.
"We have seen incredible learning and growth in every child at ZOE. The tireless work of the parents, tutors and education team helps to give the children at ZOE every chance to not just learn, but to excel in their education."
– Oratai Saisingtong, Assistant Director, ZOE Thailand
In 2010, ZOE built a 40,000 sq. ft. home on 20 acres of land, allowing for homes for up to 250 children. In 2013, we added 5,700 sq. ft. of additional living space for our boys’ home that accommodates 60 additional beds for at-risk and rescued victims of child trafficking. In 2017 ZOE completed construction of a $1.2 million Child Rescue Center. When a child is rescued directly from slavery the Child Rescue Center staff provide short-term specialised care to facilitate the trial process, witness protection, and initial rehab/counseling.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the rescue, the Thai Department of Social Welfare may recommend that the child be moved into ZOE’s aftercare facility (for longer-term care). In these cases ZOE facilitates the transition, by having times where the child can interact with their new ‘ZOE parents’ in a range of situations to help facilitate the move into their new ‘ZOE family.’
We respect and value the local culture and encourage activities that promote both the Thai culture and that of the rural ethnic tribes where the children may have origin. ZOE facilitate this through a range of activities, including songs, music, dance, crafts, and storytelling.
The ZOE parents always act in the best interests of the child. To ensure all staff and volunteers understand the how to best protect the children ZOE has developed a robust Child Protection Policy that has now been shared (and implemented) by other non-government organisations. In addition, ZOE has developed Media Guidelines to ensure that the children’s dignity, identities, and lives are protected.
Rescued at 18 Months
Though just a baby, before she was rescued Nicha was used in a “family” of professional beggars. She was especially ‘valuable’ to the ring and was used as a ‘prop’ by an adult beggar who posed as her mother, in what was exposed as a sinister performance for financial gain.
"I remember clearly when Nicha first came to ZOE. I looked at her in contrast to my youngest son who was similar in age. At first, I thought to myself, something is not quite right here. She was incredibly lethargic. She was slow to move and overall she did not look well. I actually thought that some testing would need to be arranged, as she appeared to have developmental delays. But, as the days and weeks passed, we all came to realise that there was nothing slow or lethargic about this little girl. We now know that this was the result of the drugs that were still present in her tiny body."
– David Cross, ZFA Field Worker