Category Archives: Human Trafficking

Let’s Celebrate! 20 Ways To Engage With ER This Year

ER Save the Date 20 Year Postcard

Having grown up in Ecuador and experiencing ER’s outreach to the poorest of the poor first-hand, Rheanna Cline created the following list to encourage everyone to celebrate 20 years of ER Christmas parties in the Quito Dump.

By Rheanna Lea Cline

Through the work of Extreme Response, thousands of people living in extreme situations are experiencing significant life change. With programs and partners in nine countries, ER provides many opportunities to get involved in our life-changing work with at-risk people. Here are a few of those opportunities:

  1. Tell your friends, coworkers, and family members about us.
  2. Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter and learn more about what we’re doing around the world at www.extremeresponse.org/newsletter-signup.
  3. Like us on Facebook.
  4. Join one of our Christmas Outreach Teams to bring hope to the hopeless during the holidays.
  5. Bring a few of your friends together to donate $100/month to Safe180 and help a girl rescued from human trafficking stay in a safe home.
  6. Check out our Changing Lives Blog to read more about the people impacted by our work.
  7. Become a coach in our Leadership Community to help encourage and inspire developing leaders.
  8. Donate to our Extreme Women initiative to help us provide education, counseling, intervention, nourishment, medical support, and job training for at-risk women.
  9. Gather a few friends from your church, school, or business to go on an Extreme Team volunteer trip.
  10. Consider joining our team as a Career Worker to use your skills and talents for one year or more to help the poor and vulnerable of the world.
  11. Give $20/month to provide for all of one boy’s needs for a year in our Manila Children’s Home.
  12. Host your own fundraising event, such as a car wash or bake sale, and send the funds through ER to ensure that those most in need benefit from your efforts.
  13. Follow us on Instagram.
  14. Host an informational event at your home with one of our leaders there to speak to your group.
  15. Shop through AmazonSmile and select ER as your designated charity to have 0.5% of all purchases automatically donated to us.
  16. Donate a few dollars a month to the Extreme Kids Scholarship Fund to cover the costs for a South African kid to attend and stay in school.
  17. Send your disaster relief donations to ER and directly impact people affected by the disaster.
  18. Donate $20/month to provide a Quito Dump Kid with lunch for a full month.
  19. Collect hygiene items and toys for our Christmas Parties around the world.
  20. Intern with us for a summer at one of our locations in South America, Africa or Asia.

For more information on any of these opportunities, please visit our website at www.extremeresponse.org or contact us by email at info@extremeresponse.org.

Every Day Should Be International Women’s Day

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ER volunteer Roxanne Wilson shares a hug with a woman in Quito, Ecuador.

by Kelly McClelland, ER Women’s Advocacy Director

Starting today, you’ll see lots of news stories touting gender equality and equal rights for women in recognition of International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8. This is a worthy cause and deserving of our attention, consideration and support.

But Extreme Response (ER) won’t be holding any special celebrations to mark the occasion. You see, our mission – every day – is to come alongside and help women and children who are struggling with extreme conditions like poverty, abandonment, hunger, lack of education and human trafficking. The women ER and our partners serve are mostly in developing countries like Ecuador, South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, the Philippines, Nepal and Haiti.

Two years ago, we took an extra step to assure that we were focusing on the needs of women by forming the Women’s Advocacy team within ER. These “Extreme Women” are committed to traveling to places of the world where women are forgotten, rejected and have no societal safety net to help them.

“Throughout the world women and children live in substandard conditions in comparison to their male counterparts. We have the ability to make a difference and we have a responsibility to reach out and help these women and children with education, hygiene, counseling care and shelter,” said Kelly McClelland, ER’s Women’s Advocate Director.

It is no small task to help women struggling in these situations. Many have been deeply hurt and often abused. So we start by building trust, acknowledging their self-worth and showing them how much we love and value them. From there we provide encouragement, counseling, skill-building, nutrition and more. It’s a long but worthy road. Helping women looks different in each place we operate so we rely tremendously on our regional staff and partners.

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ER’s Women’s Advocacy team reaches out to women with encouragement, life skills, crafts and helping meet physical needs.

So what does it look look like to actually go and help women in crisis?

Roxanne Wilson is one of our Women’s Advocacy team members from Michigan. She jumped at the chance to visit Ecuador in order to pour into women in crisis. Here is her first-hand account of visiting ER partner Dunamis, a Quito-based organization that helps restore girls from the abuses of human trafficking.

“When I walked into Dunamis, the girls were all seated around a table listening to one of their teachers speaking words of love and encouragement to them,” Roxanne said. “They greeted us with “Holas!” and welcomed us into their safe place with hugs.

“At that moment I was so humbled that these young girls were so willing to spend the day with six U.S. strangers. Our team had planned on doing a manicure for each of the girls while we there. Little did we know that the girls wanted to do them on us! It was such a special time to give and get in return.

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Painting nails is one way the volunteers show honor and build the self-image of at-risk women.

“We were able to communicate to the girls through interpreters. As I listened to them speak, I realized how young they were. Some were just 12 years old. I listened to them talk about hair, make-up, clothes and Taylor Swift. These were all typical “tween” and teenage topics, yet some of these girls already had babies.  All of them had been involved in human trafficking.

“Their families had hurt most of them, yet they still had love and concern for their abusers. ‘How could that be?’, I thought. I cannot fathom the horrors their little eyes have seen. Although I spent only a day with them, their faces and hurts are burned into my memory. The work Dunamis is doing in Quito is so inspiring,” she added.

ER remains committed to helping victims like the girls at Dunamis. Our Extreme Women host volunteer teams, do projects and raise funds for women who have no where else to turn. We would love to have you join us.

KellyExtreme Women is an advocacy program created by women to help women in need. Extreme Women aims to: restore women from human trafficking, counsel the abused and abandoned, provide job training and life skills, develop leaders, and break the cycle of poverty. For additional information on Extreme Women and how you can get involved, please contact Kelly McClelland at a kmcclelland@extremeresponse.org or click here to learn more.  

Dunamis is an ER partner located in Quito, Ecuador, that seeks to restore the rights of young women and adolescents victimized by human trafficking. Its work includes teaching workshops to help young women reintegrate socially and successfully enter the workplace. Many of the girls have children, so Dunamis also has created a childcare program that takes place during workshop hours. The organization is currently seeking to purchase land in order to provide a safe home and training center. Learn more.

Dunamis Helps Teen Mother Take Steps Toward Healing

Dunamis-2In Quito, Ecuador, ER partner Dunamis seeks to restore the rights of young women and adolescents victimized by human trafficking. Here volunteer Rebekah Byrnes shares the story of how Dunamis touched the life of one of those young ladies – and how her own life was touched as well.

The first day is always a little awkward. You don’t know quite what to say, or what to do. And the girls aren’t sure about you yet – not sure if you speak Spanish, not sure if they can trust you. So you just watch.

But Paola made my first day at Dunamis just a bit more comfortable. During a jewelry workshop, she invited me to sit and work with her. Right from the start, knowing Paola has been a blessing to me.

Paola, 15 at the time, had dark, shoulder-length hair and a thick accent common to Ecuador’s coastal region. She had a baby, Naty, who was not quite a year old. I noticed she spent a lot of time in the baby room with Naty. She clearly loved her child, but it was also evident that often she would wake the baby up simply because she didn’t want to be a part of an activity the rest of the girls were doing.

Dunamis-3As I observed these frequent “escapes,” I learned more of Paola’s story from the staff members, and her behavior began to make sense. When she was young, her mother had sold her to an old man who lived nearby, and he abused her sexually. Later, she sold Paola to some of the man’s friends as well, and then to a brothel, where the police eventually rescued her.

Paola’s baby was a result of the abuse she suffered. Another consequence was that she became schizophrenic, a disorder characterized by an inability to recognize what is real, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and auditory hallucinations.

We also discovered another reason she didn’t want to participate in group activities: She didn’t know how to read. She would always disappear during book club times. Our book club teacher, Lena Dietz, bought some children’s books for her one day. When it was suggested that Paola and I read together in private, she jumped up enthusiastically, giggling and happy. She was really excited to have me read to her.

Dunamis-1The first few weeks, I read aloud to her. Then I started working with her on the alphabet. We went through the alphabet and talked about what sounds each letter made, then wrote down some words and how to spell them. She was good at spelling her name, so she would proudly write that in every session. We played some literacy games; between games, I would read to her, making her sound out a few words on each page. By the end of our time together, she had read an entire page of that children’s book on her own.

Unfortunately, due to the way the shelter system in Ecuador works, Dunamis is not always able to keep the girls for extended periods, and the time came for Paola to move on. It was decided that she would go back to live with her mother again, this time under the watchful eye of her aunt.

When the day came for her to leave, I told Paola that God is always with her and she began to cry. I had never seen her cry until then; in fact, showing any sort of emotion was rare, though she smiled or laughed often enough. She shed only a few tears, but I could see real emotion and I believe that she loved Dunamis more than she could express.

Sexual abuse dehumanizes a woman and destroys her sense of worth. In Paola’s case, it even destroyed her sense of reality. But we know that broken people can be healed and made new. I believe Dunamis was exactly where Paola needed to be during that time in her life, and that she was able to see that she truly is loved. We made a difference for her, and she made a difference in my life, too.

Learn more about how Dunamis here, and go to extremeresponse.org/take-action/extreme-women for information on how you can help protect at-risk girls and women like Paola.

Help Extreme Response Rescue More Kids in 2015

At the Quito Family Resource Center, kids of Dump workers receive after school tutoring and a meal.
At the Quito Family Resource Center, kids of Dump workers receive after school tutoring and a meal.

Extreme Conditions Require…an Extreme Response

By Jerry Carnill, ER President and CEO

I write this blog feeling immensely inspired and challenged. On one hand, ER is helping more people in more places than at any time in our 17-year history. We’re seeing tremendous success in changing the lives of people living in great poverty. See our Impact Report for a few highlights.

Beaufort west gril team from july 2014 Feeding program
Kids in Africa are especially vulnerable to hunger and poor nutrition. Feeding programs help change their futures.

On the other hand, we’ve encountered more extreme needs this year than we are able to meet. From the fragile families working for pennies in the Quito Dump to street boys in the Manila Children’s Home to victims of the Nepal earthquakes, we’ve stretched ourselves across 10 countries and three continents to provide hope and help.

As we approach the halfway point in 2015, we are facing a budget shortfall of $150,000. We simply don’t have enough funds to help all the people, especially the children, who we set out to help this year. Yet, we are not discouraged because we’ve seen incredible generosity among ER supporters time and again as we’ve made needs known.

Dan McCann, an ER volunteer and supporter, outlined our challenge this way:

“It’s no secret that children bear the brunt of poverty. From abuse to abandonment to hunger to human trafficking, children are just plain vulnerable. I’ve personally witnessed kids in the Quito Dump go from dirty, sick and hungry to clean, healthy and thriving. I’ve seen Filipino street kids who are embraced and loved at the Manila Children’s Home be restored and reunited with their families. 

“I’ve also visited some of the bleakest slums in Africa – where kids are living in deplorable conditions, and Nepal – where girls are being lured into human trafficking. The good news is ER and its partners are giving these kids hope for the future. But there is much more to do, which is why I’m personally invested in ER’s growth.”

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ER’s Extreme Teams bring nutrition, education, recreation, health and Christmas to kids in poverty.

Dan and I are inviting you to join us in helping ER change the destinies of a generation of children. We can turn their lives from desperate and dire to hopeful and inspired.

Would you consider making a generous donation to ER in the next 30 days to help us meet these needs? With your help, we can rescue many more kids this year.

To help, please visit ER’s secure Website: www.extremeresponse.org/take-action/make-a-donation. Or, you can send a donation to Extreme Response International at P.O. Box 345, Snellville, GA 30078-0345 in the U.S. and Extreme Response Canada at P.O. Box 1013, Simcoe, ON N3Y 5B3. Please designate your donation “Mid-Year Gift”.

During the next 30 days, we’ll post updates on our Facebook page so you can see how these needs are being met. Thank you for caring about at-risk kids and for supporting Extreme Response!

Please contact me to discuss any of our programs, projects or relationships. I would love to share the way we are changing lives and how you can make a difference!

Serving Together,

Jerry

Jerry Carnill, Extreme ResponseJerry Carnill co-founded Extreme Response in 1997 and now serves as President and CEO. Contact Jerry at jcarnill@extremeresponse.org.

Shristi’s Story: Orphaned, Trafficked, Rescued

Rescued From Human Trafficking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was very happy because I thought I had finally found someone who loved me enough to take care of me.

My name is Shristi*. I was three years old when my parents died. My uncle and his wife raised me alongside their three kids. They could not afford to send me to school. My aunt wasn’t fond of me and put her own kids first.

At age 16, my uncle and my aunt informed me I would marry a man 10 years older than me. I could say little in protest to their decision. I had no voice.

The first few months of my married life were great. Although my husband would be gone for long periods, he would always return with a nice paycheck to run our household.

One day, I had some stomach problems. My husband said he would take me to India for treatment. I was very happy because I thought I had finally found someone who loved me enough to take care of me.

The next day we headed to India. We were at one of the border crossings when some young ladies stopped us for questioning. My husband’s behavior started changing.

During the questioning I learned the ladies were KI Nepal staff doing surveillance against human trafficking. They told me my husband had already taken another women to India, claiming her to be his wife.

I was devastated. Suddenly, his travel and money made sense.

I had nowhere to go. The KI Nepal staff told me they provide safe homes and skills development trainings to girls like me. I was so happy to go.

I stayed for six months and received sewing training and other life skills. KI Nepal helped me to set up a business that included a sewing machine and some seed to start my own tailoring shop.

Today, I’m living a dignified and self-sustaining life back in my own community in western Nepal.

 *Name changed to provide confidentiality

 

The Impact of Human Trafficking

Kelly in Nepal
The people in this Nepal village were friendly with Extreme Response staff.

 

Kelly

Kelly McClelland is ER’s Director of Women’s Advocacy. She oversees Extreme Women, a program designed to empower women living in extreme conditions. Here she shares her experience of meeting human trafficking victims while working with ER partner KI Nepal last summer.

My work for ER includes advocating for women in extreme circumstances around the world. When I visited one of KI Nepal’s border crossing stations, the notion of extreme circumstances took on a whole new meaning for me.

KI Nepal works to fight human trafficking and violence against women – first by rescuing them from trafficking attempts at border crossings, then by equipping them with skills and knowledge to bring about positive holistic change.

Interview boothRescued girls are brought to KI Nepal’s temporary safe house. There they can file a report with local authorities and identify their trafficker(s). Then they can enter a resident safe house and begin the process of healing.

When I visited, I learned that five girls had been rescued from the hands of traffickers the previous day. I was asked if I would like to meet the girls, observe the counseling process and offer them a word of encouragement. Of course I said yes.

What I encountered were three girls, one with her head down, looking at her hands, the other two whispering and giggling. I guessed they were between 13 and 16 years old. I don’t know exactly what I expected to find, but it was not giggling girls. As I settled in, however, it soon became clear that those giggles were from nervousness. Girls are the same, no matter where they are in the world!

Eventually the shyness melted away and the girls warmly welcomed me. I was then invited into an inner office, where two more girls sat at a table with a pair of military inspectors and a KI Nepal counselor. These girls had begun the process of reporting their experience, which hopefully would result in their trafficker being prosecuted.

As I looked around, I saw a cell with a man inside. He had walked up to the cell door to see who had entered the room. It took some courage for me to look him in the eye. Not only was I meeting these precious victims, but right there was a trafficker, the man who was part of their nightmare. I felt an intense surge of anger as he smirked at me! Hanging on to the back of a chair, it took everything I had not to lash out at him.

Months later when I was back home, I had the opportunity to meet with a man who had been a trafficker. He had served a prison sentence in his home country, undergone a change of heart, and was now living in the U.S., where he shares his own story of life change.

My takeaway from these experiences is that human trafficking is a tragedy for everyone involved. Help is needed for both victim and trafficker to experience restoration and healing. I’ll keep doing my part, and I’m grateful for the amazing work that KI Nepal is doing.

Extreme WomenExtreme Women wishes to see women around the world rescued from the horrible perils of human trafficking. Our goal is to see the girls restored, counsel them on their road to recovery, provide them with job training and life skills, and work to break the cycle of poverty in their lives. This task is quite large and we cannot do it alone. We are so grateful to work alongside our global partners. For more information on Extreme Women or how you can help stop human trafficking, please contact us at extremewomen@extremeresponse.org.

Rooftop Revelation Brings Anger, Tears

 

Nepal Roof Top

Danny Cox joined a team from Kensington Church in Michigan that traveled 15,000 grueling miles to a remote area of Nepal to visit an Extreme Response partner. They weren’t there to sightsee. The team made the journey to see the reality of human trafficking first-hand, determine out how to respond, and tell the story to anyone who will listen.

Danny CoxBy Danny Cox                                                                                                                 Kensington Church                                                                                                                  Photo Credits: Dave Smith

 

I have heard it said that once you start to despise your own sin, then your life can truly be transformed.I was having that thought as I was setting up the audio gear to help capture a few trafficking stories of young Nepal Girlswomen in Nepal. We were perched on the third floor of a safe home for the women in a city outside of Katmandu. I was excited to be on this trip, but to be honest, I had struggled to fully commit to going.

Just a few weeks before we left for Nepal I almost backed out of the trip. I was feeling incredibly uneasy and was wrestling with the decision.

I suspected it had to do with the many years of an adoption process my family and I have experienced from 2005 until the present. In 2005, my wife and I went to Honduras to a small fishing village on the northern coast to serve at an all-girls orphanage. While there, we fell deeply in love with the girls.

But three young teenagers in particular captured our hearts and we felt a call to make them part of our permanent family. It took four long years and many miraculous events, but they finally came to live with us in Michigan.

These past 10 years have been beautiful, yet difficult. There is so much hurt and pain mixed with hope and love. Over time, we learned the devastating events our daughters had experienced at the orphanage for many years.

I didn’t realize how much of the struggle and pain I had locked away in my heart as an act of self-protection. It hit me as I was sitting on the roof of that third-story safe home in Nepal listening to the story of one of girls who was rescued from being trafficked.

Nepal Girls ShoesWe were not allowed to be in the room listening to the stories. These girls had been through so much already; the last thing they needed was another unknown man sitting in a tiny room hearing their heart-wrenching stories.

So I was outside the room with earphones to monitor the sound levels and make sure everything was technically correct. Before the interview started, I decided to set my mind for what I was about to hear. I found a powerful story that described the need to receive mercy in order to understand what mercy truly meant.

As I finished reading, the interview started. I listened intently to this innocent little voice of a very young, beautiful little child talk about the horrendous circumstance of her own family selling her into slavery.

About halfway through the interview, perched high about this little city, looking out over Nepal in a little shady spot on this roof of the safe home, the floodgates opened in my heart.

I began to weep. I wept not only for this little angel, but also for my own journey. I wept for the depraved nature of these men who pervert innocent lives. I wept because of all the years we have spent fighting against the same things for my daughters. And I wept for my daughters and all of their pain of being orphaned and abused.

Nepal DoorwayAs I wept, I became angry. I became angry at the evil of our world. I became angry that young lives are being so badly distorted and harmed on this earth. At that moment I could hear in my earphones this precious child receiving comforting words in another language that felt familiar and true. Somehow, the presence of hope prevailed. The interview was over. I walked into the room after the people had left. Our team was wrecked.

We had two more interviews to record that day. Though there was incredible darkness in each story, there was also a powerful sense of light. In each story there is a remarkable discovery and a transformation from hopelessness to hope.

Each one of these girls has become a special treasure. Each of them is now a bright light for all to see. My hope is that we all become wrecked to help us see our own sin, and bring light into the darkness. These girls have inspired a whole new spark in our hearts. We are forever grateful.

For more information on the work Kensington is doing in Nepal and around the world, visit: http://tinyurl.com/plkylkq.