Two men had promised them a job and money if they agreed to go with them. Enticed by the prospect of earning cash and the opportunity to get out “on their own,” the girls rode a bus straight into the dark world of human trafficking.
The ‘trade’ of trafficking human beings has existed throughout history. In recent years, international laws have made it a crime to ‘force or deceive a person for the purpose of exploitation.’ Yet globally, millions of people each year are tricked into a life of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Human trafficking is a profitable industry. It has been identified as the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. And Nicaragua is not exempt. Neither is Canada. Neither is the US. And young women and children are by far the most numerous victims.
The two young Nicaraguan girls who got on the bus were instructed to go to a house in a town near the Honduran border where they met the two young men who led them to a room where they were left for several days while documents were being forged to get them across the border. It is difficult to get many details about this time from the girls, who said they were held captive, fed occasionally, and denied access to bathing facilities.
This situation brought reality right into the human trafficking program World Renew initiated in Nicaragua this year. The program is designed to target church networks where bimonthly trainings are organized with church leaders. Themes such as the impact of human trafficking, a biblical perspective on the issue, existing legislation in Nicaragua, as well as how to counsel those who have been victims of human trafficking are addressed. Local faith leaders then replicate the workshops among the members of their own churches.
Fortunately, the older sister of one of the girls was a participant in World Renew’s pilot trafficking program in her community. After their sudden disappearance, she recognized the possibility that the girls could be unknowingly trafficked out of the country. She notified local authorities and helped them piece together clues about what had happened. In less than a week, both girls were located and returned to their families. In a recent interview with one of the young girls, she said, “I don’t like to talk about it because I don’t want to remember what happened.”
Raising awareness about human trafficking is new territory for World Renew as well as the communities where we work. World Renew has a passion for communities that are safe and where justice prevails. Pray that we can be wise and bold as we enter the dark world of human trafficking.
World Renew Nicaragua