Human Trafficking Part 2

September 28 | Posted by: admin
Tags: | Categories: Trafficking

There are serious dangers lurking in the aftermath of natural disasters. 

Natural disasters have been identified as one of the leading causes of sexual exploitation and trafficking. “While human trafficking generally does not increase in the immediate days and weeks following a disaster, proper planning in the immediate-term helps reduce the numbers of gaps that traffickers can later exploit when the emergency phase has passed” (US Dept. of State 2010). This immediate time varies depending upon the extent of damage and loss of life, the nature, and the location of the disaster. In the immediate aftermath recovery of the deceased, as well as searching for food, shelter, and medical takes priority. However, this immediate time also sets up the stage for trafficking as perpetrators will jump into action during the chaos knowing that survivors are the most vulnerable at that time.

Traffickers will kidnap, threaten, manipulate or coerce unknowing individuals by making false promises of jobs, education and other opportunities to lure them into the belief that leaving the safety of their home and community is a better option for helping themselves and their families.

The chaos and confusion that a disaster causes leaves tremendous gaps in resources and safety.

Human Trafficking

A lack of coordination and allocation of responsibilities during the chaos leaves children more vulnerable. Children are not always considered or prioritized during the urgent needs of a natural disaster. Search and rescue efforts, providing medical care, housing, food, shelter, and regaining the infrastructure, consume both employed and volunteer workers (Red Cross 2004). Gangs also infiltrate areas to exploit at risk populations while officials are pre-occupied with the disaster response. These gang members are often part of a system of organized traffickers who enter into disaster zones with the specific goal of luring away victims.

The collapse or absence of a state system creates a vacuum of safety measures and previously implemented programs. If trafficking prevention measures were in place they tend to collapse in the aftermath of a disaster. The collapse of state systems also means that police and other government officials may be struggling to provide for their own families, and / or providing the role of a disaster worker establishing basic needs as opposed to enforcing laws and safeguarding the community.

In addition to the breakdown of systems, an influx of foreign and national aid workers provide an environment of strangers which becomes part of the normal process of recovery. This has the potential to disguise the threat of traffickers.  Vulnerable women and children seek help from people they assume to be legitimate humanitarian aid workers. The chaotic disaster environment also allows traffickers to circumvent national and international standards and preventions, and remove children from their communities easily – often without any questions asked. With the normal safeguards down, traffickers have more freedom to manipulate children into trafficking as well as transport them across borders (Dept. of State 2010).

Previously orphaned and special needs children are at an even greater risk, as the caretaker to child ratio in many orphanages often leaves multiple children without anyone watching out for them. Traumatized caregivers may be overwhelmed and consumed with trying to care for their own children.

Education and training helps to circumvent the process of trafficking by educating stakeholders in natural disasters, and those who work with orphaned and vulnerable populations in the implementation of a child protection plan. Identifying at risk populations as well as potential traffickers, trafficking locations, providing child safe zones, as well as a child identification systems are all a necessary part of the process of protecting children from sexual exploitation and trafficking both before, during, and after a natural disaster. The longer children are separated from caregivers, the greater the potential for trafficking increases.

Children are being kidnaped, sold, and lured into modern day slavery after the trauma of natural disasters. Reducing the risk of trafficking for orphaned and vulnerable children has to be a priority to organizations and individuals who work in disaster response. The lack of volunteers available to focus specifically on the safety of children and the prevention of exploitation, often require additional teams to coordinate and support the local the communities who are still reeling from the effects of a disaster. Disasters are increasing in both intensity and frequency; it is our goal that the exploitation of orphaned and vulnerable children will not increase with them.

Human Trafficking Part 1

September 8 | Posted by: admin
Tags: | Categories: Trafficking

21 million children and adults are slaves. These modern day slaves are held in forced bondage, forced labor, and forced into sexual exploitation and trafficking (SET) around the world. Many of the adults in forced bondage have been there since they were taken as children. (U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons (TIP) 2016).

Human Trafficking can be defined as: The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by the threat or use of kidnapping, force, fraud, deception or coercion, or by the giving or receiving of unlawful payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, and for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor.

The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls and this accounts for 79% or trafficking in persons, followed by forced labor. (UNICEF).

26% are children. That means that over 1/4th of the world’s children are being abused, beaten, raped, exploited, and held captive. Without a childhood. Without love. No hope for a future.

Over a 100 countries still are without anti-trafficking laws and 64 countries have yet to prosecute a criminal for the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and children.

Victims of human trafficking can be found everywhere – from rural settings to city streets, in trailers or apartment complexes. They are forced and sold into factories and sweatshops, hotels, landscaping, massage parlors, and restaurants; as well as the more sexually explicit places such as peep shows, websites for adult services, pornography sites, strip clubs, bars, and brothels.

Human Trafficking

In the U.S.A.

At this moment in every state within the U.S., women and children are being exploited into labor and sexually abused. Known as Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) it is estimated that 1 out of every 5 runaways is likely a child sex trafficking victim.

74% of those were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran away, revealing the vulnerability of orphaned and children revealing the need for more education and a proactive response to orphaned and vulnerable children.

The Polaris Project estimates that there are hundreds of thousands of both adults and children in forced labor and sexual trafficking and exploitation in this country.

Trafficking in Persons (TIP) is modern day slavery and it is our responsibility to speak up against it and defend those who are oppressed.

Proverbs 31:8-9 says Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

As we enter into the weekend, please consider how selfless servants in developing countries spend their Holy Week, and may we learn from them as we read the words of Filipino volunteer, Bryan Mattilano,

Holy 5” Compassionate Reach International , together with my family and the Barangay [Village] Health Workers (BHW), initiated feeding operations in our barangay beginning] Holy Thursday.

As Christ dined with His apostles to initiate the Eucharist, we may also share His Body and Blood as we serve the least of our brethren with compassion, especially those who are victims of calamities.”

Holy Week11

Thursday: Supper of Salvation

Day 1 “There were 192 identified malnourished children in the barangay, and 163 of them participated in the feeding program. All the children were weighed and the height was measured. The MUAC strip (Mid Upper Arm Circumference) was also used to determine how malnourished each child is.

Holy 2

The menu was composed of rice, chicken adobo, egg, vegetables, and hot milk.

Holy 3

The Barangay Health Workers (BHW) identified each of the malnourished children in every purok (sections of the barangay), getting the weight, height and the MUAC measurements, for the locations of the feeding, and follow-up home visitations.

Holy 6

From 163 respondents, 103 of them (63%) are already at risk for becoming malnourished, while 38 children (23%), were identified as malnourished. Only 22 children, (less than 13%) were in normal ranges for nutritional adequacy.

Holy 1This malnutrition is due to scarcity of resources: sufficient food, water, sanitation, and hygiene, brought about by the devastation of Super-typhoon Yolanda, in November of 2014.

San Jose, Dulag, Philippines

San Jose, Dulag, Philippines 1/2014

The super-typhoon also destroyed the local crops, rerouted water sources, killed coconut trees, and negatively affected the landscape and other resources in this fishing and farming community.


The feeding operation was just on time with the Holy Thursday as Christ dines with His apostles to initiate the Eucharist.

Holy Week 9

May we also share His Body and Blood as we serve the least of our brethren with compassion, especially those who are victims of calamities.

Holy 4

More than anybody who are most vulnerable are the children…. ” 

Holy Week 10

PLEASE NOTE:   Filipino volunteer Bryan Mattilano, is a professor at the University in Tacloban.

Bryan grew up in San Jose, and his parents and family still reside in the village (barangay). San Jose is a 40 minute commute by jeepney or other public transportation from Tacloban. This work of great love and compassion, is done by Bryan, his family, and other volunteers, without pay, and during their “vacation” times.

Bryan, Chp Jamie 1

Bryan and Chp. Jamie – January of 2014, providing trauma support for the local population, and trauma training for the teachers of the elementary school.

Please consider becoming a sponsor of the feeding initiative in San Jose so we can continue to help rebuild lives, while caring for the least of these.

Compassionate Reach is a volunteer organization.  100% of donations go towards helping the poor, needy, and traumatized victims of disasters.

For more information email:  and go to our website.

Thank you on behalf of San Jose and the volunteers of Compassionate Reach International. 

Contact us to find out how you can train as trauma chaplains, and/ or volunteer for mission outreach and disaster response, with Compassionate Reach International.

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