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While we have heard horrific stories of captivity, the startling fact is more often than not, victims of human trafficking remain with their traffickers. The reasons are as complex as the trauma and fear that surround trafficking situations.  


Sometimes these precious souls are so manipulated that they aren’t aware of someone controlling them. They sometimes stay out of fear of what their captor would do to those they love. Some don’t have the right resources to safely leave, such as housing or transportation. 


Some return to their traffickers again and again…because they are their families. This is the case with the Treasures.


We met the precious girls we call the Treasures four years ago. In 2021, we were horrified to learn that 35 women and children from the same village along a major trucking route in Romania were all stuck in a trafficking situation. Traffickers and abusive families exert control over the comings and goings of these girls, who were ages 12-25 when we first met them. They are the sole providers of income for their families. 


We want them to know that they are treasured by God and by us, that they have value and hope for the future. We pray one day they will be able to leave their lives of bondage and find lasting freedom.


Unlocking cages such as those the Treasures are trapped in is not always as easy as rescue and healing. Family, financial situations, and lack of employment opportunities can begin a cycle like this. Some of the youngest Treasures already have children of their own, conceived in slavery. They need their families and village, even when they are the source of their trauma.


What can we do for precious souls such as these? 


We are grateful we have an ongoing relationship with the Treasures and are able to encourage them and pour into their lives. They were able to come to The Sanctuary this year for a time of respite. 


Our team has developed a resilience retreat for women and girls in situations like these. We utilize our beautiful outdoor spaces and clinical interventions to help these girls develop emotional intelligence. Using sand trays, art therapy, the ropes course, and other means we have at The Sanctuary, we help them begin to identify the emotions they experience in their bodies. Then, they can begin to learn to communicate these emotions to someone else. 


We create an atmosphere of safety and security. We teach them coping skills to help regulate their nervous system. We help them build trust with trustworthy people, build their leadership skills, and build relationships in which they can talk about these hard emotions.


We walk with survivors, like the Treasures, day in and day out, year after year. The nature of complex trauma means healing is ongoing. If the trauma is ongoing, like it is with these precious souls, they can work on building resilience to learn to navigate hard things. 


It breaks our hearts to see the Treasures leave The Sanctuary. We know what they are walking back into. And yet, we are grateful for the opportunity to see how they have coped over these last four years, grown stronger, and kept coming back. 


One of the girls was 12 when we first met and now she is 16. She is sold by her own parents to passing truckers. And yet, she is as priceless. She is special and loved, and we make sure she knows that when she comes to The Sanctuary. She takes this knowledge back home with her. Please pray for the Treasures, that each of them knows her worth and becomes more resilient every day.


Stories like these are so hard. It’s easy to want a quick fix, but healing from trauma is not easy or quick. But there is hope, and we see it in these girls. We’ve been able to come alongside an organization based out of the area where the Treasures reside. 


We’ve trained them to use our trauma-informed approaches and they continue to walk with these girls every day. One of their staff said, “These women and girls are in survival mode,” and that after our training she now has the tools to support them. 


Thank you for helping us walk alongside the Treasures and more survivors of human trafficking like them. You are the key to unlocking cages to let precious souls like these fly free!




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How would you know if the person your child is speaking to online is a school friend or a trafficker in disguise?


How can you be sure if the job you’re applying for in another state or country that seems to good to be true is legitimate?


Are you sure that a new relationship isn’t part of a trafficking plot?


These are questions we should all be able to answer so we can stay safe and keep those in our communities safe. 


 

Can you answer this question?

  • True

  • False


Answer: True.

Many survivors were trafficked by family members, supposed friends or romantic partners.

 

Prevention starts with awareness. Prevention means knowledge.


We’re helping you get the answers! That’s why we’re committed to sharing this life-saving knowledge with you. We’ve been sharing prevention tips and human trafficking awareness information through blogs and social media posts. But now, we’re putting resources in your hands you can share with others.


Our first Prevention Tips download has information to help you stay safe online. Make sure to grab that download here.


Once you’re on our email list, you’ll get future downloads sent straight to your inbox.




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Think you or your children aren’t at risk for human trafficking?


A friend of our staff shared this story about his daughter that might change your mind.


This man’s daughter decided to take a gap year after graduating high school here in a community in the U.S. She chose to be a nanny for a family in Europe. She was excited to see the world!


The girl and her parents found an opportunity online and met a great family in Italy to bring her on for a year. She was picked up at the airport by a man who dropped her off at an apartment and said the family would come to meet her.


The family didn’t come the next day and the girl felt uneasy. By day 3, she knew something was wrong and called her parents. They contacted a friend who is an Uncaged Donor. They thought the situation seemed suspicious and knew these friends might know what to do.


The partners of ours jumped into action. They called friends in Italy who said she was in a very bad area—mob territory. They told her to pack her bags and meet them, and they got her out.


The job on the website was a front for traffickers! The website claimed no responsibility and said it wasn’t their job to vet potential families. This young girl was almost trafficked, but thankfully someone knew what to do! 


Situations like this are becoming more common. Do you know how to spot a trafficker grooming your children online? Would you know what to do in a situation like this?


Don’t be caught unaware! Prevention is a key step to eradicating human trafficking and we want you to be prepared.


Download useful tips for staying safe online now! We’ve created an easy-access page for information for you. You can save the page as a photo on your phone for quick reference. Print it out. Share it with family, friends, and members of your church and community. 



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