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What's Happening


Updated: Mar 13

“Is this for real?" the little red-headed boy responded as he looked down at the bag in his hand. He had just stepped off the bus onto Romanian soil, leaving behind his war-torn home of Ukraine. The bag held toiletries, band-aids, a towel, and other essential items. But his eyes went to the toy.

"I left all my toys and they are in my bombed-out house. I never thought I would get a toy again," the boy told Beni, our European Director.

He was one of nearly 200 children we've been able to support who arrived in the last week in Northern Romania. Their parents sent them across the border, with the aid of the Romanian government, child protective services, and some NGOs when they said they couldn't stand to watch them die in front of them. (UPDATE: As of March 13, there are now over 500 children who have arrived and more are coming).

Our team received the first call to expect the children last week, just before the first 164 arrived on a bus. Beni greeted them when they stopped off the bus with those bags our team put together with supplies provided this year by our friends at Convoy of Hope. We are so happy to provide them with a smiling, welcoming face in the midst of the fear these children must have been feeling. But this is only the beginning.

What happens now?

Two busloads of children have arrived and more are coming. The community has stepped up in incredible ways. Churches we’ve worked with are reaching out and serving, sharing what little they have with those in need. The children are being housed temporarily in schools and sports complexes. The community scrambled to get beds for them to sleep in, and has provided food, water, and supplies. The hope is that foster families will step forward to support these children and we want to be there to help every step of the way.

Right now, these are the urgent needs:

  • Bedding and laundry detergent as they don't have enough to change the beds

  • Socks and pajamas

  • Food, water, vitamins

What does this have to do with human trafficking?

We know from experience that migrants are at-risk for trafficking. We showed up at the border when the war began last year to help police and border patrol implement protocols to keep Ukrainians safe. They do not speak the language, are desperate to get somewhere safe, and are looking for help with basic needs. This is a prime target for a trafficker. UNICEF warned as early as March 2022 that children fleeing the war in Ukraine are at extreme risk of trafficking and exploitation.

“According to a recent analysis conducted by UNICEF and the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking (ICAT), 28% of identified victims of trafficking globally are children,” they said in a press release after the war began. “In the context of Ukraine, UNICEF child protection experts believe that children would likely account for an even higher proportion of potential trafficking victims given that children and women represent nearly all of the refugees who have fled the country so far.“

That’s why we must meet these critical needs. If we don’t, traffickers will step up and offer food, jobs, and travel. That’s why we must educate refugees traveling through Romania on how to protect themselves! We are talking to these children and all involved in their care about trafficking, educating them on what to look out for. We are developing simple resources in their language.

What can you do right now?

For just $25, you can provide socks and pajamas to one refugee child. You can help a traumatized child feel warm, safe, and cared for. You can be a part of the stability these children so desperately need to remain safe and protected and begin to heal.

Give $25 (1 child), $50 (2 children), $75 (3 children), $100 (4 children), or more today.

Be the key to preventing trafficking in the lives of refugee children.

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Updated: Feb 16

The problem is huge. The solution has to be even bigger! We believe we can be part of that solution, that we are on the road to seeing freedom from human trafficking in Eastern Europe. Will you join us?

Human trafficking is a bigger problem than we can indicate with numbers. Many victims don’t find freedom and much of the trafficking goes unreported. What can we do in the face of such a huge challenge?

Alongside experts from around the world, we have crafted a three-pronged approach to ending this dark and expansive evil.

This approach includes bringing trafficking survivors to the Sanctuary to offer a world-class, holistic continuum of care. The second step is continuing to walk alongside survivors as long as it takes for total restoration, integrating the best practices in human trafficking aftercare. Finally, to end trafficking, we need to throw open the doors. We must share our knowledge and best practices with abolitionists everywhere.

In 2022, The Sanctuary in Romania became functional and we brought our first survivor to the property. It was a huge win and a long time coming. But it was only the start!

Now, we are forging ahead to maximize the use of the Sanctuary for women and children in 2023. Our connections in other countries and with other organizations are telling us big things are happening. Hundreds of survivors are being freed and need safety and healing. The opportunities are limitless.

A big part of the solution to ending trafficking in our time is working together. We must share our resources and our knowledge to eradicate modern-day slavery.

As Dr. Vanessa Snyder, our Chief Clinical Officer, says, “If we don’t open our hands, heart, and arms to the community of organizations that work in this field—humbly sharing ideas and space and resources—it won’t get better. Willingness to work together is a priority.”

Together, this year we are dreaming of expansion into new areas, with new organizations, and with hundreds more survivors. Will you be a part of this solution?

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A common misconception about human trafficking is that the most common means of trafficking victims is through force. In Romania, the "Loverboy Method" is the most common way women are lured into sex trafficking.

This evil practice uses a woman's longing to know love to lure her into the unimaginable. Rescue from the horrible situations these women have been subject to is only the beginning. The ability to trust and the knowledge of what love looks like are all broken. It's a long road to learning how to open ones self up to others again.

We show love to survivors of human trafficking with comfort and care, safety, trauma-informed therapy, and building trust. Relationships with our caring staff, host families, and other survivors all help show what love can look like to a survivor.

When you join the work of Uncaged, you help us walk alongside survivors for the long haul and help them experience love and care.

How will you show love to survivors?

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