Being a mother, when I look at a child I see perfection, innocence, love and joy. The promise of the future in human form. So beautiful that you want to hold, kiss and smother them with love, protection and happiness.
So when Sal and I heard about Rapha House, in 2010, we certainly were aware that human trafficking in adults was a serious problem; but CHILD trafficking? Unthinkable! We had no idea how prevalent and devastating it is! We couldn’t sit around and hope; we decided to be part of the hope.
There seems to be some similarities among these innocent victims. Most children are from impoverished homes, don’t have the opportunity to go to school or play, and spend their time trying to find food for their family to survive. And, surprisingly, this pressure is on the shoulders of the female children, because they are not valued as much as their brothers.
The average age of the girls in Rapha safe houses is 12-years old. By the time many of the girls are 15, they have been sold to several brothels. Sometimes, their parents are duped into believing their daughters are getting good jobs in the city. Occasionally, the families are starving and SELL their children to survive. In either case, it’s very tragic.
Even though Sal and I have been to visit the girls several times, when we visited Rapha safe houses in Cambodia and Thailand this past March, we were struck by how tiny and fragile the little girls were. Each time we see them, it hurts as if it were the first time, to think they were brutalized every day – sometimes 10 or 15 times a day.
It brings out every protective instinct we have. We want to see the predators caught and severely punished. I’m sorry to admit this, but I would like to see them suffer. Beware of Momma Bear!
We want to hold them, play games and make art with them, and make them smile. Just to see some happiness on their angelic faces, to ease the pain we can’t imagine they endure.
I get such joy out of them pulling on Sal’s white beard! Then they giggle and scamper away just to come back and do it again and again.
Rapha House, www.raphahouse.org, says “No child deserves to be trafficked. No child deserves to be sexually exploited. We seek to end trafficking and exploitation of children completely. And we work to provide the best possible care to survivors.”
Yes, we cry every time we leave a safe house with little kids clinging to us. But also we are filled with SO MUCH HOPE! Rapha House does provide healing care! We have seen the results for the last five years. The Counselors, love, nurturing, physical safety and trust help the children get past the most horrific memories. We see them get stronger, safer and more confident each time.
It’s not always easy. Jen Osgood, of Rapha House, said:
“N (name protected) is new to our safe house. She is incredibly wounded and has been a very difficult case. I have spent hours holding her, sweating and praying over her all at the same time. During all of this, I have come to love her. She has many problems, but it does seem she knows we care for her.”
Child rape and rape for profit is horrific and MUST BE STOPPED COMPLETELY.
In the meantime, Rapha House has rescued, loved and healed hundreds of girls. We hope to make it thousands. And now there is a house for children with special needs! We’ll tell you more about that later. Miracles happen there!
So most of you know Sal and I are committed to the Rapha House kids for life. We have a Cambodian “daughter of our heart” we love fiercely, named Sophorn.
She is a living, breathing Rapha House success story. Trafficked at 14, she was rescued by Rapha House. She lived there until 18, becoming a leader at the safe house. She’s become a spokesperson, traveling around America, bringing the Rapha story to Churches and schools.
You can see Sophorn in the Documentary Finding Home, which is now available on NetFlix. She is 21, in love with a wonderful young man she will marry shortly, teaches school and is committed to giving back to the Rapha House girls.
You can help make more success stories like Sophorn, by bidding on the USOPEN Charity Auction; which supports Rapha House, St. Jude and JDRF.
Your money goes very far to help build more safe houses, to feed, clothe and counsel the Rapha children, as well as helping the kids of St. Jude and JDRF.
Please Bid High and Bid Often. It’s for the Kids.