In a country where close to 30% of the population are living below the poverty line, the Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development estimates that there are up to 200,000 children on the streets of Manila, and that at least one tenth are or become victims of human trafficking. They also estimate that the annual average increase of prostituted children is 3,266 per year. Tragically, the Philippines ranks fourth in the world in terms of countries with the highest number of prostituted children (humantrafficking.org Philippines). It’s effect on the innocence of impoverished children is heart-breaking.
Olivia [name changed for privacy and protection] was forced by her own mother into prostitution to help support her younger siblings. When she got pregnant and her mother was put in prison, she was referred to The Blessed House. There was a time she would sneak out of the shelter and go back to prostitution because that’s her only way of providing for her baby and siblings. After much counselling, being surrounded by a loving and supportive community, Olivia has shown much growth. Recently, her baby celebrated her 2nd birthday. Staff are seeing her increasingly making better choices for her and her daughter’s lives. She is seeking to be a good mom and sister to her younger siblings. With what she learned in the sewing program, she made a Snow White dress for her daughter. These pictures encourages us how the cycle of abuse can be broken and replaced with a life of dignity.
The Blessed House is currently the home to 19 young women and children who are all survivors of trafficking and abuse. The Blessed House is providing them with safety, education and a bright future. Thank you to those who support this amazing project. Because of you, dignity and restoration is available to women and children.
As young as 9 years old, Elaine (name changed for privacy) was pimped by her mom to customers along the street, and at 10 years old, Elaine started working in bars. She was finally rescued a year after and is now safe in shelter.
In June 2020, International Justice Mission (IJM) and the Philippine National Police rescued a deaf and mute 27-year-old online sexual exploitation victim, together with her children. She was admitted to the Blessed House for immediate care and is now part of Blessed Project’s Sewing Livelihood Program as part of her restoration.