All Posts in trafficking

August 4, 2020 - No Comments!

Mina’s Story of Survival

One Thai New Year's holiday, I went to stay at my aunt’s house. While I was there, my aunt asked me if I wanted a job working at a restaurant in the big city. I thought it sounded like a good idea and would be a way to earn money and help my grandmother, who I lived with.

I took the bus as my aunt had directed and, after many hours of travelling, I arrived at the restaurant. The city was so busy and very different to what I was used to.

When I got inside the restaurant, a few other girls were also waiting to hear about the job. That night a man met us at the restaurant to explain. He told us that our job was not serving food – but that we would be giving sexual services to men.

I didn’t know what to do. I had no idea how this promise of a “good” job had turned out like this. I didn’t even know where I was, or how I could escape to find my way back to my grandma’s house. Had my aunt known about this all along? I felt confused, alone and uncertain about what to do next.

I felt scared I was trapped.

Unable to escape, we were taken to another location where we started “work” the next night around 9pm and didn’t finish until 5am. Night after night, once the clients had all left, we girls would collapse exhausted and sleep upstairs above the club until it would all start again the next night. The owner forced us to work every day.

One night, the owner was very nervous and told us to stay out of sight. We did not know why but we heard shouting and the sound of police sirens. We were crouching down in a laneway just outside the back of the club when some of the other girls took a risk and ran away down the street into the night. I was too scared to run and remained hidden, my heart pounding.

All I remember next was that a bright light was shining on me and suddenly I was pulled up out of my hiding place.

I felt confused at first, but the reassuring voices of the rescue team were telling me that I was safe.

____

The ZOE Child Rescue team alongside local police, successfully rescued Mina and some of the other girls that night and brought them to a safe house.
The owner of the bar was successfully prosecuted.

ZOE was able to reunite Mina with her grandmother. Mina is now safe and working a job that she loves.

Mina thanks God, and ZOE, for giving her
"new life… life to the fullest"
which is what ZOE means in Greek.
____

*Based on real life events. In an effort to protect her identity, her name and the details of this case may have been changed.

May 1, 2020 - No Comments!

The Fight In Australia

Recently it was reported that, “The United States, Britain and Australia are the main consumers of child sex abuse streamed over webcam” (spokesperson from the AFP).

ZOE raises awareness in Australia through the media, influential voices, speaking engagements, internet communities, and encouraging student involvement.

ZOE’s work in Australia to ”prevent,” ”educate,” and ”bring awareness to” trafficking continues. Although the corona virus has affected the movement of our team, and restricted school, church, and small group visits, each staff member is working from home, staying in contact with each other via video calls, and collaborating on projects in preparation for the future.

Brett Gottle, our Development and Advocacy Coordinator, has been finding ways to connect with small groups online to pray, or bring awareness about, issues related to child exploitation both in Australia and overseas.

One of his highlights from last week was a ZOOM meeting with one of Petersham AOG’s connect groups. Let’s hear why!

“There were a number of reasons why. First, I was able to share ZOE and my personal experiences of rescue, restoration, and prevention. There was a deeply moving moment when I shared the time when a little bunch of rescued children gathered around me to pray at one of our regular ZOE Prayer nights. I mentioned how for the first time I’d experienced the wholeness, the courage, and the trust of children who had been rescued and restored from serious abuse – this experience changed my life forever. Second, I talked about how I joined in with an American Police team to gain intel on a trafficker and how that information was then passed onto the Thai Police. Significantly, I was able to share how the relationship between ZOE, the Thai Police, and Thai Government is deeply respected and crucial for the process of rescue and restoration of children in Thailand. Not only that, this deeply trusted relationship resulted in the recent arrest of an identified trafficker and the rescue of a number of children.  We praised God for this wonderful relationship. And last, a significant highlight was being able to reveal that the exploitation of children is a very real Australian problem to solve and prevent.  With the self-isolating effects of the Covid-19, many Australians are being encouraged into pornography. Australians are currently spending 1.3 million dollars a year live-streaming children being raped and sexually exploited. Likewise, I shared how I am gaining an unquenchable sense that bringing awareness to Australians, stimulating prevention here in Australia, and activating rescue of Australians from pornography is a vision that’s being powerfully awakened within me. As it was with the group I met with from Petersham AOG, Australians are significantly unaware of our problems to solve and prevent. Through our ZOE family, I want to change this! Jesus is on the move and wants us to ‘set my people free’ both ‘here’ and ‘there’.”

Brett is regularly meeting up with Australians to pray for ZOE’s work (as shown in the picture). We believe that God is breaking into dark places with a rescue plan – a plan to bring light, exposure, restoration, protection, and to release victory over darkness!

If you would like to join in and pray, please email.

Our monthly impact giving, helps ZOE to fund all the areas of greatest need.

ZOE Australia Facebook  Instagram

May 1, 2020 - No Comments!

May Focus: TRANSPORT

What do you picture when you hear the word ‘transport’ in relation to Thailand? Well if you've ever been there on a holiday, you possibly picture chaotic city roads, thousands of motorbikes, tuk-tuks, songthaews, and traffic pollution. If you've had the chance to get out of the cities though, you might also imagine four-wheel drive trucks navigating red, dusty tracks, or unmade roads leading to hidden rice fields and villages.

Our ZOE staff and families experience the extremes of both these types of transportation conditions regularly. From school drop offs, fact finding, meetings with the Police, shopping trips, village outreaches, hospital check-ups, awareness campaigns, visits to relatives, school trips, court appearances, church on Sunday, property maintenance (the list goes on)…ZOE’s fleet of cars and trucks get a lot of use!

In fact, it takes a small team of people to oversee the vehicles and make sure they continue to be in good working order. This team manages the vehicle registrations, insurance, and service appointments. They also coordinate what vehicle will go where, according to the day of the week, destination, number of people travelling, etc. It takes a lot of organization.

This month in Australia, our focus is not only on vehicle transport, but also on just how far your generous donations travel. Our monthly impact giving, helps ZOE to fund all the areas of greatest need. Transport is just one of those areas!

Instead of spending the month highlighting our fleet of cars and trucks (although some people might enjoy this) our social media channels in Australia will cover a broad range of trafficking related content that links in with the both theme of transport, and being transported – ‘moving from one place to another’.

Think beyond just getting from A to B because we want to cover: how transport is used in trafficking, how to spot trafficking in our travels, how trafficking continues to travel during covid-19, just how far ZOE will go to reach and rescue, and the emotional journey from victim to survivor – the restoration process – the child trafficking survivor stories that happen every day. Plus more!

Join us on Australia’s Facebook and Instagram pages to keep up with this month’s theme Transport-ed and please leave us a comment on social media so we know who’s ‘travelling’ along with us!

ZOE Australia Facebook  Instagram