Zarah (name changed) was rescued by International Justice Mission and referred to the Captivating funded Honor 1000 Movement’s Blessed Project. At age 14, a neighbor lured Zarah into cybersex in exchange for money, so she can help her poor family. Aside from her, several other young girls were also victimized by the same perpetrator. The authorities conducted online investigations and were able to filter Zarah’s messages to the perpetrator. Zarah is now under the care of the Blessed Project and has an ongoing legal case against the perpetrator.
Honor 1000 Movement recently participated in a seminar hosted by a local government agency on increasing skills for child friendly forensic interviews. It aims to empower aftercare programs to provide support to victims with ongoing legal cases like Zarah. Most victims of cybersex are young children who aren’t even aware that they are being abused. The work that our partners do in the Stop Cybersex Crime school-based projectis crucial in coming alongside them in realizing they are being abused and that there is help. The Blessed Project exists to help rehabilitate young women and girls who have fallen prey to traffickers and the online world of cybersex. Thank you to our amazing donors who support these two life changing projects in the Philippines.
While this pandemic has tied down majority of us in our homes, the young women at The Blessed Project have found ways to make their time at the shelter worthwhile and fruitful. One of them, Jean (name changed for protection and privacy), shares her experience.
From a Trafficking Survivor to a Confident and Inspiring Woman
Andi [name changed for privacy and protection] was rescued from trafficking by International Justice Mission (IJM) and referred to the Blessed House in 2017. During the past few years, she has gone through counselling, confidence building and learning skills that she can rely on to earn an income. She is now strong and confident and able to move out of the Blessed House and reintegrate into the community. She successfully secured a scholarship to finish her studies and is continuing to support herself through her job at the Blessed House's Sewing Enterprise. She is also one of the facilitators of the Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign (HTAC) with the microfinance groups. She spends time and engages with the mothers - answering their questions about human trafficking and encouraging them to fight it.
Via was only a few months old when her mother died of cancer. She longed to study but because of poverty, she wasn’t able to go to school. Her father would take naked pictures of her while taking a bath. She wasn’t sure for what purpose the pictures were, but it went on for a couple of months.
The Blessed Project's Sewing Enterprise in the Philippines focuses on two core objectives: (1) sustainability and (2) skills training to prepare young women for employment. Jelyn’s story is just one of the many success stories the program has witnessed and wishes to witness as this social enterprise grows.
The annual average increase of prostituted children in the Philippines is 3,266 children 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.