When World Renew partners in Nicaragua began a series of trainings on human trafficking in indigenous communities on the Atlantic coast last year, they did so with the intent of raising awareness on the topic. According to a 2013 report by UNICEF, human trafficking is considered to have a growing societal impact in Nicaragua both internally and in terms of people being trafficked from the country by international organized crime. Furthermore, the indigenous communities of eastern Nicaragua are profoundly isolated from the rest of the country. Given their cultural and geographic marginalization, World Renew realized the need to bring a human trafficking training to the communities in this region where there was little awareness of the issue.
Stories poured out from the participants who now had a name to put to what many of their friends and family members had experienced unknowingly.
What the facilitators of the workshop were not expecting was the number of personal testimonies that came from the participants during the training. Stories poured out from the participants who now had a name to put to what many of their friends and family members had experienced unknowingly.
One of these stories came from Maria*, a mother of two boys and a leader in her church. It was by participating in the workshop that she was able to identify that what had happened to her son, Simon*, earlier that year was in fact a case of human trafficking. The following story was told by Maria and one of the youth involved:
There was a young man named Walter in our town, and he was involved in the community leadership. Earlier this year, he invited many of the young people in our town to a five day training in Managua, the capital located on the opposite coast. We did not suspect anything at first because his involvement in the local political sphere led him to often organize workshops and trainings.
The youth who were invited were told if they just paid for their transport to Puerto Cabezas, a nearby city, they would then be reimbursed for their expenses, have their flight to Managua paid, and be given $100 per day for travel costs. This was an attractive offer, given that the reimbursements would more than cover their travel costs and the participants could pocket the extra cash. 12 youth in their late teens and early 20’s confirmed their participation in the trip.
World Renew and our local, Christian partners are working to combat human trafficking by improving people’s educations and job opportunities within their home communities. We are also providing training about what human trafficking is and how to prevent it.