One of the largest factors of trafficking in persons--especially in the developing world--is poverty. A lack of means to provide for their families leads people to accept employment offers that appear to be "too good to pass up", often at the expense of freedom and dignity.
If only 2% of trafficking victims are ever rescued (and 80% of those rescued will go on to be trafficked again), if a true count of victims is unknown (and seemingly unknowable) because the crime is so well-hidden, then the most promising solution must be prevention.
With a stable source of income, families and their children will never need to search for employment in places that may take advantage of them. And so, I've launched a program to provide business opportunities to local families. I believe it's better to own something than be owned by someone.
Noah is a student at Precious Kids Center School. He is the friendliest child, who will talk and talk and talk--to anyone--for as long as the listener is gracious enough not to walk away. (He once spent a half an hour walking me through a fake day...including every item of clothing he would put on in the morning, one-at-a-time, and then all of the things he would see at the grocery store on the way home.)
Noah also has epilepsy. A few months ago, the medicine he had been taking stopped working and his seizures got so bad that he started to experience temporary paralysis on his left side. Between medical bills and new medications, in addition to the regular household expenses, it was a rough month for his mom. Fortunately, her employers are incredibly generous and took care of the hospital fees.
Since Noah is so adorable...and his mom is kind and trust-worthy, I immediately agreed when Sammy mentioned helping Anna begin a small shop in her neighborhood.
On Tuesday night, I asked Sammy to remind me to call Anna the next day. On Wednesday morning, she arrived at the kid's house as if she had overheard our conversation (one more sign that my life could be The Truman Show!) So, my helpful band of Sammy's teenage boys loaded up the van with charcoal, maize, and beans and came along to take Mama Noah (and all of her new stock) home.
When we arrived, we were greeted by her daughter, Freedom. She came out to the car and helped unload the items with a big smile on her face!
I have mentioned in previous posts how much I respect single moms--shouldering the emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial responsibilities of two parents. I am so grateful that we were able to give this gift to Anna. I am really hopeful that this store will help alleviate some of her financial worries and even allow her to save money so that any future medical emergencies will not be financial emergencies as well.