Aftercare in Action

Aftercare in Action

They are children. CHILDREN! Trying to survive. Their stories are varied but none are pretty. Some are kidnapped and trafficked for sex or labor. Some have parents or grandparents, who cannot afford to care for them, or simply do not see a problem selling them due to longstanding cultural issues, while others are married off as child brides. And sometimes the children themselves put misplaced faith in those who promise one thing and then deliver something all together different. The end result, in all cases, is enslavement.

Operation Underground Railroad looks for these battered and broken children all over the world, rescues them and has the perpetrators arrested. But then what? What happens to these children? Their lives are shattered and forever changed and they need healing. They have been traumatized and, in many instances, feel that life has nothing to offer them.

Children who can go home, are returned to their parents. Loving parents provide the best support and brightest prospect for recovery. Unfortunately, many of these children have nowhere to go. In some cases, if they return home they are at risk of being sold again.

“When I worked for the government,” says O.U.R. Founder and CEO Tim Ballard, “we turned the children over to recovery facilities that would take care of them. My job was to rescue them. Now, at O.U.R., we are partnering with ‘Aftercare’ facilities to ensure that these children are getting the help they need.”

Recovery is handled differently depending on the country and its laws. One of the things that prompted Ballard to create these partnerships was a country that would not allow O.U.R. to check up on the children once they were rescued. O.U.R. had vetted the recovery facility prior to the rescue and knew the people would take good care of the children, but not having access to follow up on them was a concern.

Today, Operation Underground Railroad has a team member who specializes in international social work and has extensive training in crisis response and trauma counseling. She not only meets with potential aftercare facilities directors and managers, but also works with the girls that are there, ensuring they receive the help they need.

“In December 2015 we were able to identify a specific aftercare center that we partnered with to provide aftercare services for children rescued in the future. The aftercare staff consists of the executive director, social workers, therapists, an amazing house mom and an American woman. As a team they are helping provide holistic care for these girls. All of the staff are very dedicated to their recovery process. In total there are about 20 girls that live there at a time. Due to donated items O.U.R. was able to provide clothes, sandals, puzzles, and school supplies. We are so grateful for the humanitarian donations we have received,” says O.U.R.’s team member.

Gifts for the girls at the Aftercare Center
Gifts for the girls at the Aftercare Center

All these girls are courageous in their struggle to overcome the abuse. One was just 12 years old when she delivered a baby shortly after arriving at the center. Another was rescued from sex traffickers that had taken her to a totally different continent to work. Their stories are disheartening but they now have hope. And they are extremely grateful.

A Rescued Sex Slave painting the fingernails of an O.U.R. Jump Team member
A Rescued Sex Slave painting the fingernails of an O.U.R. Jump Team member

“The joy and gratefulness for such small gifts was truly humbling. The girls treat each other like family. They were excited for each other and expressed how beautiful they felt in their new clothes. One girl said, ‘I have the most beautiful sisters and am very grateful for the encouragement they give me.’ One could feel the spirit of joy and healing in this home,” observed the team member.

In addition to the practical items for the girls, O.U.R. members in collaboration with local leaders in the fight against human trafficking were able to provide a unified training with those who run various aftercare centers. “We provided training for social workers, counselors, therapists and house moms. All of those who attended, work directly with survivors, including the agency O.U.R. has partnered with. We also partnered with Smarter Parenting, which is a branch of the Utah Youth Village. Based on the request of the country we were serving in, we were able to bring them this skill-based program, that has years of evidenced-based research in how to help youth grow and thrive. It was only through collaboration with the in-country leaders that we were able to bring helpful resources,” says the O.U.R. team member.

Operation Underground Railroad is actively seeking out aftercare partners that will continue to help with the recovery and healing these young victims need to believe in themselves and their future. Next month we will bring you an update on one young girl who was kidnapped and pregnant when O.U.R. rescued her. Today her future is looking very bright.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Aftercare in Action

  1. This just plain made me cry!! Oh God…be glorified and let joy break out in all O.U.R. is planning. Cause the funds to pour in. In Jesus’ name………..Amen!

    1. Have you ever heard of InnerChange? It’s a treatment organization that has facilities across the United States and in Mexico. They could be a good potential partner.

      1. Hello, Have you heard of Wellspring International (http://wellspringinternational.org/)? It is an outreach of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. They ” identify and financially equip existing organizations aiding women and children at risk, as well as to provide individual scholarships to support education, healthcare, and basic living needs.” I was thinking that they could be a potential partner.

  2. Those girls were absolutely robbed of the ability to just be girls, and get an education. Is there any way for teenage or young adult girls to go on humanitarian missions, teach them English if necessary, maybe even just be there for companionship?

  3. I am very driven to help in some way, yet I feel powerless to do anything (except financial donations when I can). I just signed up for “information on ways you can help” so I assume there may be ways I can help from afar? My husband is a doctor, I don’t know if you need volunteer doctors for any reason and his sister is as well with a personal PTSD story of her own living in SLC. I am a teacher, but currently raising four little ones. Anyway, I feel of all the issues in the world this is the most horrific. I would love to do something in addition to financial donations, but maybe that is hard. Anyway, I have been really troubled by this issue for a few months now and feel that finding out about this organization and reading about it has answered my prayer because I haven’t known where to turn to offer assistance. Sorry to ramble….. I’m done. :)

  4. Unfortunately this problem has existed since the beginning of time, but with the introduction of the Internet, pornography and sexual perversions seem to have become more accepted and almost common place in our society. Having had similar experiences in my life, I’ve always dreamed of starting a home for trafficked and unwed teens to provide them with emotional and financial support. Health issues have hampered my ability to coordinate such an endeavor. If there is any way lay personel can help please contact me.

  5. how do i become a therapist to help the children ? i am writing to see which universities offer a masters and Phd that will prepare me to help these traumatized children,

  6. Hello, I/we think what you are doing is so wonderful and so need bless all those at O.U.R. and your supporting organizations. I have been trying to contact your foundation via email and phone, but I understand you are very busy. Hoping to maybe connect here, but will continue to try by phone as well. I’m volunteering with an organization that also is in the works to help victims of sex trafficking with a therapeutic save haven home in Northwest Montana. We know there are too many victims and so few resources. Your team is doing an awesome job and we want to help these victims make new lives for themselves. Please contact us when you can so we can see how we might partner!

  7. Bonjour,
    Malade de voir que des horreurs pareils existent, Tim Ballard, soyez béni pour ce que vous faîtes, sauvez des enfants de ces bordels, inspiré de JEHOVAH, vous ne ferez que du meilleur dans tous ce que vous entreprenez, je ne vous oublie pas dans mes prières, et tous ces enfants que vous sauvez, vous et tous ces gens qui oeuvrez dans ce sens, merci au nom de JESUS notre sauveur, AMEN.

  8. I, like many others here, would love to help with aftercare. What are the educational/experience requirements? Also, I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Do you know any local organizations or partners here that I can contact?

  9. Thank you so much for everything you are doing. The sex trade just sickens me to my core. I am so glad someone with skills is doing something about it. I want to help provide resources. I have started a Lipsense distributorship to sell lipstick. I want to give 25% of all my proceeds to Operation Underground Railroad. I want to be the change I wish to see in the world. Keep up the good work. I will be praying for you and doing all I can on my side to support. You are doing God’s work and it is so important. thank you.

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