Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! Ken was gone last week in Asia and came back over the weekend. While in Manila, he re-visited the Center of Hope, a shelter that Natori has been supporting. Here he is with an update!
I was introduced to the global epidemic of child / human trafficking through the amazing Cecilia Flores-Oebanda a few years ago. A victim of child trafficking herself, Cecilia has devoted her life to both rehabilitating and supporting its victims, and also helping root out and prosecute its organizers and enablers. The global child / human trafficking network is both organized and widespread, and thanks to Cecilia’s Voice of the Free (previously called the Visayan Forum Foundation) in the Philippines and similar organizations worldwide, at least some of its perpetrators have been caught and imprisoned.
I visited the Center of Hope a year ago, and was thrilled to be able to return last week to see the progress and visit with the amazingly strong survivors.
Located outside of Manila, the Center of Hope’s main purpose is to rehabilitate and support victims of child trafficking. The girls are provided shelter, education, and support as they grapple with all they have been put through.
Hearing the girls, some as young as three, tell stories of incarceration, deceit, and the unthinkable was heartbreaking, but hearing their optimism and hope for the future was equally uplifting.
Me with Cecilia, one of the most inspirational and supportive people I have ever met. She has devoted her life to supporting the victims of child trafficking.
The girls welcomed me back with song, dance, art…
… and poetry. They were so gracious and appreciative of the support. About 15 of the 50 current residents were there when I visited last year, but they were universally welcoming, warm, and incredibly optimistic and hopeful about their futures.
Please learn more about the global epidemic of child / human trafficking through the Voice of the Free here, or through Freedom for All, which is based in the US.