Luke (name changed) was trafficked for two years as a drug mule between two countries in South America. He was only 13 years old when he was first trafficked.
It can be common for people to be trafficked as a drug mule anywhere where there is a strong presence of narco trafficking (the smuggling and distribution of drugs across borders) and anywhere along the border of two nations. Oftentimes, traffickers use children because the punishment for possession of drugs is less severe for a minor.
Luke was rescued two years ago. As is common for those who are rescued from drug trafficking, the narco traffickers made it known that if Luke ever were to testify when he turns 18 years old, he could be killed.
Luke is now 17 years old. Luke decided he wanted to sign up for the army so that he has ongoing state protection once he turns 18 and will have the government to help defend him if ever needed in the future. Sometimes in the long-term aftercare of a child there are complicated challenges. However, our desire is to empower youth in their dreams and help them to have a safe future.
While O.U.R.’s Aftercare team was serving in Luke’s aftercare home, they took Luke and a few other survivors out to dinner. They went to a beautiful restaurant on a river that has a swimming pool in the middle. The kids who came were told they could swim if they’d like and some brought their bathing suits. The purpose of this is to provide meaningful, positive experiences for the children as they re-engage with the community.
All of the other kids were swimming after dinner except for Luke. O.U.R. Aftercare Assistant, Tyler Schwab, was talking with Luke and asked him if he was having fun. Luke said,
I can honestly say this has been the best night of my life.
Both Luke and Tyler didn’t bring swimming clothes. Seizing an opportunity for a little bit of fun, Tyler asked Luke, “If I jump in, will you jump in?” Luke agreed, but only if they went in at the same time. On the count of three, they both jumped in the pool at the same time in their jeans and day clothes.
Moments like this show how kids who have been trafficked want the chance to truly be a kid. Opportunities to heal and experience childhood are provided in the quality aftercare homes we partner with all over the world. Your donations help Luke and other children like him to finally be children.
Kids were never meant to be sold. We can’t express our gratitude enough for your support and generosity so that these children have a chance at childhood. Thank you for joining us in this important journey to healing.
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