An Unexpected Education
Protecting vulnerable students from human trafficking
When kids venture off to their first year of college, many parents make the journey to help get them settled into the dorm room they’ll call home for the next several months. Dorms are not always the nicest places to live, but just about every need of the student is catered to these days.
Now imagine living in a poor, remote village in an undisclosed communist nation, and make that same trip to take your teenage son or daughter to a boarding school hours or days away in the nearest city, and when you get there you must build a dorm room for them. The parents of these students must bring, or acquire along the way, the basic materials with which to construct a simple dorm hut for their child. “Affluent” families (compared to the abject poor) construct these huts with rough-hewn boards and corrugated steel roofs, while poorer families resort to bamboo for framing and palm branches for walls and roofing. Their child will call that home until they complete one year of school. No bathrooms, no running water, no meal plans.
And after summer break, they must return to build another to replace the first one lost to weather or scavenging.
Another vital need sorely lacking: protection. There are no real door locks and no campus security. That means girls (and some boys) must fend for themselves against predatory students and local men.
That situation has Sousida concerned. She and her husband, Keo (names changed), live near such a boarding school, and because of her love for Jesus she also loves the vulnerable young women who attend. Sousida began building relationships with some of these girls, hoping to win their trust and show them the love of God. She does that by inviting them to her humble home for a yummy meal of noodles with a bit of chicken or similar food that’s a real treat compared to the simple diets students can afford. She also teaches some of them to sew so that they can acquire a marketable skill and, with Keo, shares the “bread” of God’s Word with them, which many are eager to learn about.
Sousida’s goal is to not only win them to Christ, but also to dissuade them from falling into the trap of prostitution at one of the local karaoke bars—a real temptation for girls who come from such impoverished families, especially if they’ve been sexually abused in the past, as this makes them particularly vulnerable to this kind of pressure.
While Sousida works with the girls, Keo works with local boys and some from the school, teaching them biblical truths about such things as respecting others. He’s also able to teach English to the boys and girls alike, a very important skill for getting jobs in the thriving local tourist industry.
It’s also exciting that Sousida and Keo are now reaching many of the parents of the students they minister to with the gospel. Appreciative of the loving attention shown to their children, the hearts of these parents have been softened to listen to this couple as they share the gospel. It’s an education the students and their parents never expected!
Thanks so much to all of you who help Sousida and Keo protect teens each month from the dangers of human trafficking—and lead many to Christ!
Together with Him,
Jeff and Karin Trotter
Directors, Human Trafficking & Slavery Ministry