There are very few homes for male victims of human trafficking. It is often thought that young boys are not trafficked. However, because of different barriers and situations young boys experience, their cases are not reported as much as female victims. A 2013 ECPAT-USA report concluded that the “scope of (the commercial sexual exploitation of boys) is vastly under reported.”
When unexpected situations occur, resources are adjusted to provide quality care. This is how one of our aftercare partner expanded their girls’ home in Central America to start a second aftercare home specifically for boys ages seventeen and under.
When our aftercare partners received the call that there were two rescued boys who needed a place to go, they were ready to help. They had continued to rent a home even after they had transitioned their girls out of it, and it was the perfect place to provide a home for these boys.
Trafficked inside a prison
These boys had been through some of the most horrific trafficking that you could ever imagine. They were trafficked inside of a prison.
One of the boys was sold by his grandmother when he was five years old to a corrupt prison worker for a few hundred dollars. He was forced to live with this man inside of the prison to be sold to the inmates. The other boy rescued was sold over and over to this man by his mother who was homeless in exchange for drugs.
From a very young age, these boys were raped and exploited by convicted criminals. As you can imagine, organizing a rescue operation inside of a prison would be a challenge. The police and prison were completely distraught to find out what was happening and responded immediately to stop the corruption. The boys were both around thirteen years old when they were rescued.
The path to healing
The O.U.R. Aftercare team believes in the importance of providing opportunities for positive memorable outings in the community. Historically, there are several cases that have been studied on how to provide care for children rescued and placed in different homes. One of the things that is of vital importance is that a child doesn’t feel institutionalized. We had the privilege to take these two boys on an outing for lunch at the place of their choice.
During lunch, they told the Aftercare team about their dreams and what they wanted to be when they grow up. They are both very talented artists. One of them wants to be a photographer. He was excited to use the camera the group had brought and take selfies while making funny faces. He was especially interested in the Polaroid camera that O.U.R. Aftercare Director Jessica Mass brought – he was very excited that he got to keep a few pictures from their lunch.
Teaching Jessica to skateboard
There are multiple different aspects to aftercare and it is so important for kids to enjoy the community, if it is a safe and stable situation. Sometimes it’s as simple as going for a walk, which in this case was a safe situation.
On their walk outside, the two boys were able to rollerblade and skateboard. One of the boys was so excited to try to teach Jessica how to skateboard. This is not one of her talents, but it was important to him, and therefore she got on the skateboard in her wedge heels as he showed her where to put her feet. They laughed as he tried to convince her that she wouldn’t break her leg.
If you met these two thirteen-year-olds, you would never know the type of abuse they have been through. They have every reason to be angry and bitter, but they are still full of JOY. No matter what, we always believe that there is hope for every child.
Our aftercare partners
O.U.R. has supported this girls home and boys home with things like building a new computer lab, providing laptops, buying a new 15-passenger van, supporting remodeling their garden, but with all these things the phrase “people don’t care what you know until they know that you care” rings true. We are always so excited to support in different aspects of holistic healing and helping increase the quality of care of the aftercare home, but with the children that O.U.R. supports after the rescue, we want them to know with full confidence that what they care about is important to the adults in their lives. Because of our donors and supporters, O.U.R. was able to be a part of the healing process of these two boys. We are so grateful for our donors who help these boys gain back the childhood they deserve.
What can YOU Do?
Put the National Human Trafficking Hotline in your phone, you never know who it could help rescue.