This year in the Philippines, an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 children and young women will become victims of Human Trafficking or online cybersex crime. For most, they will never been seen again by family and loved ones.
Why does this happen? When extreme poverty intersects with a country where so many speak good English, the combination becomes lethal. Out of desperation, girls look for better alternatives and, although they are aware there are risks, they believe there is little choice when compared to remaining at home and trapped in poverty. Single moms are also incredibly at risk – where their primary motivation is to give their own children the life they deserve. When a job opportunity is presented to them, even if this means working in another country, they almost have no other option than to jump at it. The poor are subsequently preyed upon by manipulative traffickers offering false promises of employment and education opportunities, remuneration in addition to a better life condition. In reality, the trafficker does not follow through on any of the promises. The victims are then forced to do other work—like prostitution—receiving little or no pay, resulting in them still living essentially in extreme poverty, but now trapped.
Additionally, this same mom struggling with poverty, now has another “opportunity” to raise money, and is lured into illegally using her own children to perform sex acts over the internet to paying pedophiles.
Rescued victims of Human Trafficking and/or children who have been taken away from abusive households or their parents sent to prison, suddenly have a problem. Where do they go, and who will give them the critical counselling and support they now need?
Welcome to the BLESSED PROJECT, and one of our answers to this horrible fight against Human Trafficking and Cyber-sex crime. We hope you’ll join us in fighting what is now one of humanities worst atrocities. Together, we can save lives.
The BLESSED PROJECT was created as a first place of safety and rehabilitation for women and child victims of human trafficking and cyber-sex crime.
The GENUINE REHABILITATION of young women rescued from Human Trafficking
When a young women is rescued from human trafficking, the road to recovery is a long and challenging one for most due to substantial emotional scaring and brokenness from unimaginable abuse. The Blessed Program aims to fill a gap. It’s tough, long-term work filled with lots of heart-break. However, it’s a journey all girls need to go through – and they need support. What happens for each girl broken from victimization is different from the next. And, it’s a path to recovery that may take 12 – 18 months. Sometimes longer. Support for their recovery starts with:
- Physical support by way of housing, daily food and basic personal needs. Our “trainees” are integrated into a safe and supportive home (called “Blessed House”) with full-time on-site care and support available when needed. Eventually, trainees move into their own independent housing to continue their path back to independence. At time of writing, 28 women are receiving this support.
- Emotional support with help from professionally trained counselors and social workers.
- Education and skill building through vocational skill training, special schooling courses and alternative learning. The aim of these programs is focused on securing long-term and consistent employment or establishment of their own business.
The immediate and short-term care of child victims of Cyber-Sex crime
BLESSED PROJECT also operates as an approved transit home and place of safety for children who have been removed from abusive families by authorities following conviction of their parent(s) for online sex trafficking. Children will remain under the care of the Blessed Project staff and counselors for up to 3 months while longer term foster family solutions can be found.
One aspect of their rehabilitation is learning the skill of sewing. Trainees will learn this trade as (1) a form of therapy; (2) learning a practical skill; and (3) the ability to earn some income for personal needs. Some trainees move on themselves to take up sewing/tailoring professionally. Additionally, any income from the sewing business over and above wages to the trainees is used to offset some of the overall program expenses.
The immediate and short-term care of child victims of cybersex crime
BLESSED PROJECT also operates as an approved transit home and place of safety for children who have been removed from abusive families by authorities following conviction of their parent(s) for online sex trafficking. Children will remain under the care of The Blessed Project staff and counselors for up to 3 months while longer term foster family solutions can be found.
I continue to be captured by the joy in faces of girls and women as we bring blessing and hope to their lives. I was privileged to be part of an amazing team who founded HONOR 1000’s – Blessed & One Hope projects over 10 years ago – and I continue to love journeying with women in the Philippines as they walk free of poverty and exploitation. Previously working in the social welfare sector in Australia as a program manager for crisis youth residential programs – gave me experience and a heart for the plight of children & youth especially those needing a voice!
Blessed Project provides education, employment and empowerment for girls rescued from trafficking. This project runs a social enterprise, after care support for girls in the blessed transition house, others living independently as well as community advocacy in anti-human trafficking.
When I am not working alongside the Honor 1000 team, I’m busy helping out in our little property with chickens, sheep & Alpacas, or hosting travelers in our cottage. I love simple joys, to walk amongst nature, curl up with a good book and a latte, or hang out with my wonderful husband and family over a home cooked meal and a board game.
Captivating Australia | Philippines Project Manager
Kate (3rd from right) with Andrew, Julie and Dean from Captivating and the Honor 1000 team
Go to Captivating Publications for all of our updates and reports.
Go to Captivating Publications for all of our updates and reports.
It costs US$560 / AU$800 to support a child victim of cybersex crime for 3 months before safely transitioning them to a more permanent foster family;
US$2,300 / AU$3,300 provides a year of care, counselling and support to a victim of human trafficking. She will need this support to progress.
Latest News for PHILIPPINES - Blessed Project - Stopping Trafficking
Thank you to our project partners