JOY in South America

JOY in South America

South America hero band bracelet

This young South American woman recently turned 18. She was trafficked at 9 years old in a city that is known for sexual exploitation, a common age for little girls when they are first raped. The story could stop here… without hope… without a future… without joy.

Thankfully, the story continues for this beautiful girl. This young woman is so full of light, love and JOY! She was rescued four years ago and is getting ready to move out of the aftercare home to study culinary arts at a university. She was so excited to tell us about the life she is living and pursuing her dreams. She has received vocational training through the baking program at the aftercare home, which she has loved because of her passion for cooking she has had since she was a little girl. Out of her love for others, she even cooked for us and she is so talented! Trust me, my stomach testifies to the goodness of true talent!

She’s the hope of what we long for, for all of our survivors. When we put the ‘JOY’ band on her wrist she was so excited and said it was her favorite birthday gift. This is an 18 year old that’s healing and thriving. HERO Bands made her 18th birthday! She wants to own her own business and has already started selling her baked goods in the market. Light in the darkness. Hope instead of hopelessness. Beauty from ashes. Joy through the tears. Thank you for supporting these lives!

  • Jessica Mass | Director of Aftercare

What can YOU Do?

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Because of your support, we can not only provide funding to our partnering aftercare centers, but can also give humanitarian aid and support vocational training – like this young woman’s baking classes!

See our new O.U.R. Aftercare page on our website for more information and stories.

O.U.R. Aftercare

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Fighting Sex Slavery With Soap

Fighting Sex Slavery With Soap

By Brittney Donovan, Action News Jax | Jun 5, 2017 | www1.cbn.com

ARLINGTON, Va. – One group fighting sex trafficking calls itself S.O.A.P. – Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution. And they’ve actually found a way to use soap to battle this second leading crime in America.

During the first weekend of June, they gathered a couple of dozen volunteers in Arlington, Virginia across the Potomac from Washington D.C. to pack bags with bars of soap that have the number of the National Human Trafficking Hotline on the wrapper. Then they delivered these bags to hotels and motels around the D.C. Metro area.

The wrapper says, “Are you being forced to do anything you do not want to do? Have you been threatened if you try to leave? Have you witnessed young girls being prostituted? If so, please call: 1-888-3737-888 – National Human Trafficking Hotline.”

SOAP Saved a Chicago Girl

S.O.A.P. Founder Theresa Flores recently received a text message from someone about one of these wrappers.

Flores recalled, “It said ‘you are the reason I’m free. I found a bar of soap in Chicago and it gave me a reason to get out.’”

For the full news story at www1.cbn.com (Photo source: Pixabay)

Operation Underground Railroad runs a similar campaign with doTERRA Healing Hands. The new HOPE blend was developed and donated to O.U.R. specifically for distribution in high trafficking areas. It includes an 800 hotline number for children who are suffering and in need of help. Read the full story and consider donating to O.U.R. today!


What can YOU Do?

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Human trafficking is a worldwide epidemic. What can you do in your own community to stop it?

In the month of June, O.U.R. volunteers around the world are holding yard sales and donating the proceeds.

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This Teacher Walked 500 Miles To Spread Awareness of Human Trafficking … And He’s Doing It Again

This Teacher Walked 500 Miles To Spread Awareness of Human Trafficking … And He’s Doing It Again

“My message is the only way to fight human trafficking is a network of communities working together to prevent it and stop human trafficking from existing. It’s been around for hundreds of years; we just keep renaming it. I think it’s time for everyone to realize slavery is slavery, and we need to do something to stop it.”  

– Barry Jurgensen

Barry Jurgensen will be walking with a purpose as he takes his second 500-mile journey from Omaha to Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

This graduate of Dana College and history teacher will be taking the time to visit in the cities he passes through to spread awareness of human trafficking through Walk Forever Free 2017.

In fact, this is the second time in only two years that he’s doing this trek. Last year, he went from Nebraska City to Chicago, raising $27,000 for the nonprofit, anti-human trafficking organization, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives. This organization has a focus in education within schools and their communities.

For this year’s effort, The Set Me Free Project, I Have A Name, the Coalition on Human Trafficking and the Central Nebraska Human Trafficking and Immigration Outreach have all partnered with Jurgensen.

 

(image source: enterprisepub.com)

Why Nebraska?

 

This year, the Human Trafficking Initiative released a report revealing that the commercial sex trade had managed to spread statewide across Nebraska. About 900 people are sold as sex slaves monthly, according to the report.

Some of the cities Jurgensen stopped in were selected according to the information that was in the report. Many of the cities Jurgensen has chosen to walk through were prevalent in the study. He claims, “The most beneficial thing is to meet people. Then, they introduce you to other people.”

 

(image source: enterprisepub.com)

Students and Colleagues In the Cause

 

Amber Sims, an English educator, helped in organizing both of the treks. She says that this walk continues because the issue still exists.

“I know last year when he was in Chicago, we felt a great sense of accomplishment with everything we did and we have a lot to be proud of, but we both said we weren’t done,” She said. “I think today and the start of this walk is a testament to the fact that we’re not done and the work isn’t done and it won’t be done until slavery doesn’t exist anymore.”

 To Sims, working locally was important.

“You can’t look elsewhere until you try and do something here,” She said.

Senior, Grace Volk, also shares Jurgensen’s passion in fighting human trafficking

“I don’t think a lot of people know it is even here, especially in Omaha, Lincoln and all those places along major highways,” she said. “I don’t think people know what a big problem it is. They think it is just overseas or in developing countries. I think it’s really nice to show people that it’s a problem here so we can help stop it.”

Ross Miller, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student and AHS grad, participated in 2016 and now walks with Jurgensen to Omaha.

“He’s been a great influence on my life,” Miller said. “What he does is awesome to spread awareness for human trafficking, and I just want to be a part of that.”

See the original article on enterprisepub.com


What can YOU Do?

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Do you want to join a movement like this on behalf of O.U.R.?

Check out the O.U.R. Phoenix Rescue Run! You can also support the event outside of the Phoenix area by running wherever you are through a virtual sign-up to donate to the cause.

You don’t have to walk to spread awareness. SHARE this article.


 

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O.U.R. NOW AN OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED CHARITY IN MEXICO

O.U.R. NOW AN OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED CHARITY IN MEXICO

HAILEY HENDRICKS | UPR

Utah-based Operation Underground Railroad, an anti-human trafficking organization, has become an officially recognized charity in Mexico. By declaring itself as a charity, the organization will be able to host fundraisers to raise money and awareness for child exploitation operations in the country.

Matt Osborne, O.U.R.’s senior vice president for rescue and rehabilitation, said he is looking forward to partnering with the Mexican Government to further rescue and rehabilitate trafficked and victimized children.

“A lot is said in the press about Mexico,” Osborne said, “The problems they have with organized crime, drug trafficking, but we’ve seen a real dedication, commitment to fight child exploitation. We see men and women and the federal police in the attorney general’s office, in the Mexican Congress, in administrative interior, willing to work with us.”

Since opening its operations in Mexico in 2015, O.U.R. has rescued 42 victims and has assisted in the arrest of 17 traffickers throughout the country.

Osborne said these efforts to help trafficked children would not be made possible without the help and support of Utahns due to their willingness to donate, spread awareness and to help in the investigations and operations.

“We’ve been very blessed to be supported here by Utah,” Osborne said. “We look forward to working to support all the dedicated men and women in US law enforcement and law enforcement around the world to fight this horrific crime.”

Click here to read and hear the story from Utah Public Radio.

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Slave Stealer Podcast: What Kind of People Sell Kids?

Slave Stealer Podcast: What Kind of People Sell Kids?

 

What’s it like to be in the home of a trafficker? How do traffickers talk about their own families? In this episode Tim shares face-to-face encounters with some of the guys he helped put away.

The story begins with Eduardo. As part of a sting operation, Tim sat on a beautiful beach to see if the intel was true – if you sit on this beach long enough, a trafficker will approach you and offer you underage girls. One did. This trafficker took Tim to his boss, Eduardo, who sold girls as young as 11.

After Eduardo took some time to introduce Tim to the girls, Eduardo said, “Hey do you want to see my family?”

Tim goes on to explain what Eduardo said about his family as he pulled out his phone to show pictures to Tim.

There are more than 2 million children enslaved worldwide. Tim says, “It’s the job of every adult, every decent adult, to stand up and be [these kids’] parents because if we don’t, Eduardo becomes their parent. That’s the reality.”

Join us in listening to episode 15 of the Slave Stealer podcast, “What Kind of People Sell Kids?”

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OPERATION BLACK PANGOLIN

OPERATION BLACK PANGOLIN

Operation Underground Railroad and Indian Rescue Mission (IRM) have successfully collaborated on another rescue operation that occurred on May 23rd in Kolhapur, a suburb of Mumbai, India.

A week before the operation took place, an operator received a tip of a massage parlor that was forcing girls to have sex with customers after giving a massage to clients. IRM investigators entered the massage parlor to confirm the information and see how much it would cost for each girl for one night. The owner of the parlor said that he charges 5,000 Rupees ($80) for one night with one girl.

The IRM contacted Bhagyashree, an IPS officer at the Kolhapur Police Department, who agreed to assist with the operation. On the day of the rescue operation, the police staged around the corner while investigators entered the massage parlor. Once the parlor owner made the deal with the investigators for 10,000 Rupees ($160) for two girls, the police came in and raided the parlor.

The owner of the massage parlor was arrested and will be tried in the Kolhapur Court.

The five survivors were taken to a local shelter following medical examinations, where they will begin the healing process and a new start to their lives.


What can YOU Do?

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We could not save these girls without your support!

This summer, help us give more freedom by participating in our Freedom 4 All campaign.

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OPERATION KANHA TIGER

OPERATION KANHA TIGER

Operation Underground Railroad and Indian Rescue Mission (IRM) conducted a successful rescue operation in Kolhapur, a suburb of Mumbai, India, on May 22nd.

Operators from IRM had been investigating many hotels in a red light district area that were suspected of forcing women to have sex with guests. They received a tip about a specific hotel, so IRM investigators went to confirm this intel and see how much it would cost for each girl per night. On both occasions when they inquired about prices, approximately 8-9 handlers or pimps offered them girls.

The girls were being held at an off-site location at a house and could not leave that location unless ordered. Once ordered and paid for by a customer, the girl would be brought to the hotel.

The IRM investigators contacted Bhagyashree at the Kolhapur Police Department along with prosecutors from the Kolhapur court.

The police were staged around the corner from the hotel as the investigators entered the hotel and asked if they could purchase three girls. Once the investigators agreed to pay, the police raided the hotel. The team then went to the house to rescue the remaining girls and arrest the other traffickers.

Nine traffickers were arrested and jailed. They will be tried in the Kolhapur Court.

After medical examinations, the six survivors were able to begin the recovery process at a local shelter.


What can YOU Do?

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Want to sport your support for O.U.R. in style?

Check out our store today. Every purchase helps fund our future rescue operations.

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CHILD SEX SLAVES RESCUED BY ANTI-TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION WITH PARTNERS IN INDIA

CHILD SEX SLAVES RESCUED BY ANTI-TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION WITH PARTNERS IN INDIA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JUNE 9, 2017

**MEDIA ADVISORY**

CHILD SEX SLAVES RESCUED BY ANTI-TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION WITH PARTNERS IN INDIA

Operation Underground Railroad partners with Indian counterparts to bring down child sex trafficking ring

Washington, D.C. – U.S.-based anti-human trafficking organization Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) collaborated with local partners and law enforcement to rescue four children from being sold as sex slaves in Mumbai, India. The sting operation concluded with the arrest of four traffickers who are set to be charged in the local Sewri Court. After being medically cleared by a local hospital, the girls were brought to a shelter where they can begin their rehabilitation and restart their lives away from slavery.

Local partner Indian Rescue Mission (IRM) collaborated with O.U.R. upon receiving information that a male pimp was marketing a young girl’s virginity for 30,000 rupees ($450). Working alongside local police, the undercover team arranged for the traffickers to bring four girls to a hotel under the premise that they would be sold as prostitutes. Upon exchanging money, local police swarmed the hotel, arresting the four traffickers which included the hotel owner. Thanks to coordinated efforts of all parties involved, the four victims can work towards putting their pasts behind them and transitioning into leading a normal life. “It’s operations like these that bring us one step closer to eradicating this modern day slavery around the world,” said O.U.R. CEO Tim Ballard. “By giving local law enforcement the capacity to take down traffickers, we are empowering them to take a leading role in this fight and strengthening their ability to stop trafficking in their communities.” This year alone O.U.R. and IRM have partnered on four operations throughout India which have resulted in 16 rescued children and 18 arrested traffickers traffickers.

Operation Underground Railroad is registered 501(c)3 organization. Bringing together former CIA, Navy SEALs, and Special Ops operatives, O.U.R. partners with local law enforcement agencies around the world to save children from this modern day slavery. Founded by CEO Tim Ballard in 2013, O.U.R. has rescued more than 650 victims and helped arrest over 275 traffickers worldwide.

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PRAYER REQUEST: CENTRAL AMERICA

PRAYER REQUEST: CENTRAL AMERICA

Your prayers and positive thoughts are needed.
In a few hours, an O.U.R. jump team will be going to a few locations in a Central American tourist town known for exploiting children.  Another jump team will be in another town tomorrow, both will be looking for the “needle in a haystack.” This stage is vital; without evidence or proper intel, the rescue operation cannot happen.

 

We know we cannot fight this fight alone. Thank you for your support!

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Thailand Youth Camp Especially For Survivors

Thailand Youth Camp Especially For Survivors

In the Thai language, D means good.

So, Love D Youth Camp means a camp of youth that love to be good.

O.U.R. Thailand employee, Jib, has been working on child rehabilitation for the past year at the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Abuse Center (ATCC) in Thailand. She has been recently collaborating with O.U.R. to organize a camp during school holidays for the children at ATCC. The purpose of the camp is to motivate the children to learn music, attend counseling, use art therapy, participate in meditation, and many other brain stimulating activities.

This past April, 36 children were able to attend the Love D Youth Camp. The group included children ages 6-17, so they were divided into two groups separated by age.

“Keep harmony, discipline, and goodness,” was the slogan that these 36 children are taught to live by. It encourages them to engage in positive activities to improve self confidence and self-discipline. Love D Youth Camp also encourages brave and creative performance through artistic and musical activities.

Art and music seemed to be the most popular among all of the children. The older group had the opportunity to play music on drums, keyboards and guitars. They loved it so much that they wanted to form their own band!

The younger group enjoyed sharing stories about the pictures they drew.

In addition to these successful activities at Love D Youth Camp, the kids also enjoyed talking to the teachers. It was therapeutic for them to convey their feelings and provided a great opportunity for the ATCC to provide future counseling for the kids.

The younger group participating in daily meditation.

The teachers reported positive changes in the kids’ behaviors and commented on the positive social impact that this camp was making. Most importantly, the children wanted to come back to the camp in the future. These 36 bright children really made the most of the meaning of the camp: a camp of youth that love to be good.


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We are grateful for all that our team and partners do for the survivors in Thailand.

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