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Orphan girls

"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress" James 1:27.

Caring for orphans is in a Christian’s DNA. Vast numbers of churches, faith-based organizations, and individual donors contribute millions of dollars towards causes that help orphans.

"Zeal without knowledge is no good;" Proverbs 19:2

Fact: The vast majority of children in orphanages have one or two living parents, and poverty is the primary reason that children are placed in orphanages. Without this knowledge—but with such a great desire to donate towards “orphan” causes—orphanages proliferate for the wrong reasons. Donors unintentionally end up supporting the least helpful type of care, one which often results in the exploitation and trafficking of children.

orphanage-children

How children are trafficked in orphanages

Recruitment
“Child finders” travel to areas affected by war, natural disasters, social discrimination, and poverty to promise parents education, food security, safety, and healthcare for their children.

Exploitation
The children are then forced to work, or perform shows for and interact with potential donors, to raise funds. The money is then used for things other than the benefit of the children.

Needs Go Unmet
They don’t provide the consistent and responsive care that children need and that is typically received in a family. Some keep the children in poor health to illicit more sympathy from donors.

Children are exploited and used as commodities in the “orphan industry.” God-loving churches, organizations, and donors unknowingly support systems that harm children. Families are broken up; children face emotional and psychological trauma, are abused and exploited, have everything removed from them that God gave to help them grow into fully-adjusted adults; and donors are led to believe the children are being helped to reach their fullest potential.

How do we know?

We know because we unwittingly supported the “orphan industry.” (Hear our story) We were unaware that most of the children weren’t orphans and instead had been recruited, but we uncovered the truth. The children in many orphanages were being used as commodities in a perverse business that profited from their exploitation. We learned the hard way. But we changed everything to become a part of the solution.

Our Response

We believe that children belong in families. Decades of research has formed a irrefutable body of evidence that demonstrates that loving families provide the best environment for a child’s development. No home is perfect, of course, and there are times when children need to be removed from the care of their parents; but family-based care options should be the go-to alternative. Children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development are supported when they are loved and protected, have a sense of belonging, and learn the life skills that are integral to growing up within a family.

Picture of reconciled family

So, when possible, we help children be reunited with their families. We strengthen families to prevented children being sent to orphanages. And we raise awareness of these issues so that churches, organizations, and others like you can make informed decisions so that you can support the best solutions for children.

How to get involved

Learn about the issues. This way you’ll know to support organizations that provide family-based care of children, and then you can use your voice and influence to end the “orphan industry.” Visit our Learn page.