Your support helps end human trafficking

Child abduction. Human trafficking. Forced labor. Sexual exploitation.

Young Haitian girl stands in front of her house

Marie-Nicole has escaped a life as a child slave.

 All of these words tie into a severe injustice in this world – modern day slavery.

It’s important to stress the word modern. Slavery is not an age-old concept and never has been. The United Nations (U.N.) recently estimated that there are 1.9 million women and girls in forced labor, with about half of them being used for sexual exploitation.

Thanks to your faithful prayers and support, Food for the Hungry has been able to help victims of human trafficking and bring awareness to an issue that continues being unseen by many.

What’s worse is that there exists a type of human trafficking that in some countries it’s part of the cultural norm.

In Haiti, child slaves are called restaveks. According to the Jean Cadet Restavek Foundation, there are some 300,000 restaveks in Haiti. Marie-Nicole, a 12-year old girl, happened to be one of the 300,000.

Marie-Nicole became an orphan child at a young age and was sent to live with a family with no relation to her. As is common with restaveks, she was abused and neglected. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, her mother’s cousin, Marthe, took her in. Although she was saved from the slave trade industry, the neglect continued.

Marthe was a single mother with five children of her own. She struggled to provide for her children and made a living selling coffee, beans and corn in the local market. She sent all her children to school, except Marie-Nicole.

After the initial emergency response in Haiti, FH continued working with the families in Haiti to improve children’s lives and restore communities. An FH mentor, Esther, trained in protection issues, trauma and community counseling, worked with Marie-Nicole in her struggle to be valued and loved by her new family.

She invited Marie-Nicole to join a program she led with other vulnerable girls. Marie-Nicole, who had always been quiet and subdued, started to change after a few weeks. She opened up more. She smiled. She began socializing with other young girls. Marthe noticed these changes and was intrigued by the program.

A Haitian mother stands with four children in front of their home

Marie-Nicole is now a valued member of her new family.

Marthe started to attend sessions with Marie-Nicole and was influenced by Esther’s teachings. She no longer neglects Marie-Nicole and considers her as one of her own.

But Marie-Nicole’s story didn’t end there.

With your financial support, Marie-Nicole received school tuition, supplies and a school uniform. She learned about God’s love, made new friends and is looking forward to a better future.

But, Marie-Nicole is just one of thousands who need our help. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Please prayerfully consider a donation today as we continue to fight against the largest slave trade industry in history.

About Esther Martinez

Esther Martinez is a Multimedia writer and photographer at Food for the Hungry. She is an Arizona native who loves to travel. Her background is in photography and journalism. Outside of work she enjoys discovering new foodie restaurants, embarking on creative photography projects and scouting the local music scene. Through her blog, you'll be able to see what comes across her desk each month.

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