Caution: This letter is not appropriate reading for children.
Trapped. Starved. Beaten. Raped. And … Repeat.
The story that I’m about to share with you is shocking. It is, however, important that you hear it.
It’s important because, if the story remains untold, then the victims in the story will remain unseen, unheard and unhelped. But let me warn you, because of the love in your heart for children, your blood will boil with righteous indignation as you read what I’m about to share.
Yamin is 13 years old. A year ago, her life was mostly carefree, her demeanor was sweet, and her heart was innocent and full of dreams.
Last year, however, as COVID-19 rocked the world and nations scrambled to respond, Yamin’s local community went into lockdown. For Yamin, the changes evoked a mix of emotions.
On one hand, her school closed, so there was more time at home to play with her younger sister. But because of the economic stress, there was less money for her family. As a result, Yamin’s mother had to put in long hours at a low-paying factory (that remained open despite the lockdown) to try to feed her family. (The location of Yamin’s father is unknown.)
As a responsible daughter and older sister, Yamin stayed at home all day to care for her younger sister while her mom worked at the factory. Instead of staying cooped up inside, they would often play outside on the street.
One day, a friendly lady stopped by to give the girls a snack. Yamin had never seen the lady before, but she was very kind. The girls cautiously accepted her snacks which, under the COVID-19 lockdowns, had become a rare treat.
Every day, the kind lady kept returning. And every day, she kept bringing snacks for the girls.
Yamin began to trust the woman, and she confided in her about her family’s financial difficulties. The kind lady told Yamin about a good-paying job that would be the answer to all her family’s problems.
Finally, Yamin thought, she had an opportunity to lessen the financial burden that was crushing her mother!
The kind woman convinced her it would be much better to surprise her mom after she started earning money rather than ask her for permission.
So, one day after making sure her sister was asleep, Yamin eagerly followed the lady to a van waiting in the distance. Once there, she discovered 10 other young teenage girls just like her, all excited to get jobs to help their desperate families during the COVID-19 crisis.
Little did Yamin know that stepping into the van would be the last decision she’d make of her own volition for weeks.
As the van drove towards an unknown destination, minutes turned to hours, and the hours kept multiplying. Yamin and the other girls grew anxious as they were given no food, water or bathroom breaks. Something wasn’t right.
Finally, after a grueling 12-hour drive, Yamin and the other girls—now scared to death—were herded outside. They didn’t know it yet, but they had just arrived at a brothel in a border town. Their lives were about to turn into a living hell.
Each of the girls was forced into a room and locked inside.
They were repeatedly beaten and starved until they finally submitted to having sex with men.
This became Yamin’s entire existence: a bedroom prison cell, constant beatings and starvation, and repeated violent rape. Her 13-year-old innocence was torn to shreds, as were any hopes of ever seeing her family again.
Meanwhile, back at home, Yamin’s mother began a frantic search for her. But days turned into weeks. Both mother and daughter were losing hope.
But then, a breakthrough. One of the other enslaved girls got her hands on a phone. Yamin secretly called her mom. You can only imagine the flood of relief that swept over her mom as she heard her daughter’s voice!
But that wave of relief quickly turned into horror and rage as Yamin told her mom what had happened. Yamin’s mother wasted no time in mobilizing their entire community (as any mother would do!) and by nothing short of a miracle, they staged a daring rescue effort and heroically saved Yamin and the other girls!
Sadly, though, rescuing Yamin out of the vicious cycle of isolation, beatings, starvation and rape was only the first step on a long and difficult journey back to healing. Though she was now safe at home, her body, mind and soul remained numb from all the trauma.
This is when the adrenaline-filled rescue story ends, and months of intense rehabilitation begin for girls like Yamin who are rescued from human traffickers—and who are fortunate enough to come under the care of specialized Christian ministries like the one Heaven’s Family partners with.
After someone like Yamin is rescued, immediate medical care is always needed due to the beatings, starvation and violent rapes.
And then the nightmares start. Most nights, the rescued girls relive their hell over and over again. Intensive trauma counseling is needed to help them work through the nightmares, flashbacks and PTSD.
The girls also need an incredible amount of love and support to adjust again to normal living—as they learn when to trust others. Moreover, they have to overcome the social stigma of what has happened to them. This takes an unwavering network of committed people in their lives.
Lastly, many of these girls are entering young adulthood and need to learn how to provide for themselves. They require vocational training so they can thrive on their own.
Above all else, they need Jesus. He is the only one who can bring true healing, redemption, restoration, and hope for these precious girls.
Altogether, the holistic care for each rescued girl only costs about $50 per month. Our goal is to raise $25,000 per month to help 500 girls in a number of nations where Heaven’s Family is serving. The rehabilitation ministries we partner with provide in-depth, hands-on, residentially-based, and Christ-centered care sensitive to each girl’s unique needs.
Today, under COVID-19 lockdowns, human trafficking is exploding in the Asia-Pacific region. Millions of young girls like Yamin are now home alone for many hours or on the streets while their parents are desperately trying to find ways to provide for them. It’s a trafficker’s dream come true. And they aren’t wasting time. So neither can we!
Can you help fight back against the traffickers and restore the lost innocence of these young girls?
Your single gift of $50 can help provide an entire month of healing care for a rescued girl like Yamin. A monthly gift of $50 will ensure that she, and others after her, will receive all the ongoing medical care, therapy, support, and vocational training she needs to achieve a fully restored life in Jesus Christ.
I know the pandemic has caused strains for all of us, but let’s not lose sight of the eternally-significant work the Lord would have us do even in this unusual time. The Light in us is far greater than the darkness in the world!
P.S. Please seek the Lord if He’d have you invest in these rescued girls’ lives through Heaven’s Family’s Human Trafficking & Slavery Ministry. For only $50 you can help breathe life back into a young girl ravaged by sex slavery!