General CBF

From Poverty to Trafficking – How you can help!

phontoThis post is from Cindy Ruble, CBF field personnel serving in Malaysia and Indonesia.

In the last month, I have handled seven trafficking cases and consulted on one migrant worker rape case.

It has been a heavy load, both in terms of the intensity of the workload and the depth of emotion in the life stories I have heard. I have advocated for Tessa, Christi, Maria, Hansa, Faith, Liezel, Malaya, and Tuti.*

I usually don’t even share first names, but I do so with you as their names are important because behind each name there is a face and behind each face, there is a story. I don’t want them to become numbers in your minds, merely seven trafficking cases and one rape case for they are far more than that.

Among them are mothers with two children, three children, six children, and nine children. They have children with a serious heart problem, children with dreams of becoming an architect and a tour guide, children who just wish their mothers would come home and bring chocolate, children who know the value of an education and just want to go to school.

They have husbands who grieve from afar when they hear that their wives have been sexually assaulted while trying to earn money for their families. Some parts of their stories are buried deep within and some parts they share.

I have come to care about each of these women as I have sat listening to their stories, gathering data for their cases, advocating for their rights, insisting their voices be heard, their wages be paid, and their tickets back to their home countries be provided.

Their stories are different except in one way.

Poverty drove every single one of them to Malaysia to work. They left children behind, sometimes husbands and extended family for two years or longer, to work and earn money to send back home to put food in their children’s stomachs, to pay school fees, and to buy needed medicines.

They endured abuse and 16-19 hour days in the hope of helping their families. All but two were never paid for their work. That is the norm for the victims whose cases I handle.

Many work for years in abusive situations never receiving any pay and often very little food. In one severe case here, a maid was starved to death by her employers in the eight months she worked in their home.  She was 24 years old. She weighed 57 pounds at the time of her death.

I see a revolving door of migrant workers with different faces coming from different countries speaking different languages, but with cases I could put ditto marks on: no pay, 16-19 hour work days, no day off ever, not enough food to eat, emotional and physical abuse, sometimes sexual abuse, passport held by employer or agent, no freedom of movement.

They came to work and they ended up as slaves in someone’s home. By the time they are rescued, they have been traumatized. They are fearful, not knowing whom they can trust, and usually, they have lost all hope of ever going home again. Without their passports, they have no way to return to their home countries or so they think, and to be honest, without an advocate, they are right.

I have helped repatriate four women this month, working with others to get their wages, passports, and tickets home. I have been called a ‘hero,” a word I do not wear well, as it is too big a word for a series of small acts coming out of normal human empathy for another. That is really all it takes — placing yourself in another’s shoes and working for what you would want for your own family — justice.

I am absolutely convinced we can end Human Trafficking, but we need every single one of you to understand what it is and say, “No more. Not one more victim.” There are a zillion different things you can do to make that happen.

The ways to help are as diverse as you are: start posting articles on Human Trafficking on Social Media sites, talk about it, point it out so everybody around you knows what it is. Contact an Anti-Trafficking non-profit in your city and volunteer.

Write a song or a poem, make a video, or create a poster to raise awareness.

Make a donation to our Human Trafficking Awareness and Aid Fund (Project # 81962).

I am currently running low on funds to help and your donations empower me to advocate for victims and to facilitate their repatriation as well as running Anti-Trafficking Campaigns to raise awareness and prevent Human Trafficking.

In Christ, all things are possible, and that includes ending Human Trafficking.

*Names changed to protect the identity of the victims.

One thought on “From Poverty to Trafficking – How you can help!

  1. Thank you Cindy for your efforts and for making this issue much easier to understand. I’m grateful for your work. I also appreciate your appeal for others to become involved in anti-trafficking work. Everyone blessed to have a safe family environment could help others less fortunate by becoming involved in their area to help prevent trafficking. Becoming involved helps spread awareness which leads to less abuse.

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