Who is Operation Underground Railroad? They are a wonderful organization that exists to rescue children from sex trafficking. Did you know there are 30 million people in all forms of slavery today? 2 million of those are children in sex slavery! There are 10 thousand children a year smuggled in the U.S. from other countries for the purpose of commercial sex trade.
HowDoesShe recently had the incredible opportunity of going to Guatemala with an amazing organization, Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R). Please take the time to read about our life changing experience in Guatemala here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
What you need to know about O.U.R. First you should know that in the past four years of existence, O.U.R. has rescued 1,400 victims and assisted in the arrests of more than 570 traffickers around the world. This organization was started by a man named Tim Ballard who was a former CIA agent and later an undercover agent for the federal government. He saw this evil up close, but knew that working for the government his hands were tied in many situations and he couldn’t do what needed to be done. He left the government and was supported by former law enforcement and former special forces guys. Together they got this organization up and running to save so many innocent children.
O.U.R doesn’t just rescue a child and send them on their way, but they support them in aftercare facilities that are vetted by their aftercare team. Jessica and Tyler are two INCREDIBLE people who have hearts of gold. I could talk all day about how wonderful they are and what an example they were to me, while witnessing their efforts first hand in Guatemala! They are the ones holding these kids immediately after a rescue, they are the ones making sure these children know they are loved and have a purpose on this Earth. I am forever changed by seeing what an impact they make on these children’s lives. The children flock to both of them and it was so beautiful to see. Jessica and Tyler work hard to make sure these aftercare facilities are secure and safe for the children.
O.U.R. does not begin an operation without the consent or help from the government of the country they are in. They work right alongside law enforcement and follow all laws and directions. They also fund local law enforcement agencies. They train them to give them the tools they need to fight in their jurisdiction.
While in Guatemala, we met a couple that is helping to pull prostitutes off the streets who often have small children at home. These girls don’t have the money to make ends meet and have resorted to this degraded way of living, they hate it as much as we hate it for them. There are survivors who, through the help of this amazing couple, are off the streets and finding success in their own businesses. Changing their family’s future. It was such an amazing thing to witness. These women’s faces were glowing and their kids were thriving. They finally had someone to support them and I don’t mean financially because they are doing that for themselves. They are given so much guidance and love which is a recipe for success! Read more in: Guatemala Part 1: Victims not Prostitutes.
We were also able to meet so many amazing people who have put their lives on hold in order to step in and help. They saw a need and fulfilled it! First, we met a woman, Diane, who knew that so many small children needed someone to fight for them. She did just that! She quit her job in the States and took these babies on full time until they could be placed in safe permanent homes. So many of these children had unknown birth dates! Luckily, they have Diane in their lives who has built an orphanage that was beautiful, colorful, and safe. It was a happy home where everyone could find joy! Diane also runs a non-profit, LUM, that helps fund the education of children who come from poor villages. Women have come together, with the help of Diane, to create a co-op where they grow their own cotton, spin, loom, then create earrings, bags, blankets. It truly is incredible to see their works of art. Read more in: HowDoesShe in Guatemala Part 2: Love and Hope through Tragedy.
Finally, we got to witness teenage girls, some as young as 14 who were raped and now have children of their own trying to raise a family. I was mind blown by these girls. They have been beaten down and made to feel worthless, but they were still picking their heads up and moving on. Why? Why and how could they do this with the torment they went through?! It’s because they have support around them. People who care for and love them. We met Lilly who created a home for these girls who have no one. She saw a need and decided to do something about it. I am so grateful for her example to me! This home was full of love and joy. These girls had big smiles and brought me to tears more than once knowing that there was hope for them! Read more in: HowDoesShe in Guatemala Part 3: Hands Down, One of the Most Beautiful Things I’ve Ever Seen.
Our experience Guatemala changed me. It changed me as a person and as a mother. It opened my eyes to what many children in the world are really experiencing and what they really need. I’ve come to the conclusion that all they are really seeking for is love. Just love. It’s free and can easily be given. My kids don’t need stuff. They need me. This trip was a great experience to learn how WE can help, however, I feel like it was meant for me, to change my mind and my family’s life.
In one of the fabulous O.U.R. documentaries, Tim Ballard (founder of O.U.R.) talks about how he learned from an amazing little survivor (that he eventually adopted) the key to fighting darkness is service. It is how he deals with all the darkness he encounters. Helping others.
There are SO MANY that still need to be rescued. That is where you and I come in.
Right now, the biggest need O.U.R. has is financial. We would love you to join us in becoming an ABOLITIONIST! Having seen O.U.R. in action, we know firsthand that these funds are being used sacredly and correctly.
Consider giving even just $5 a month, or if you can do more, FANTASTIC! This is such a worthwhile cause. I’m willing to give up two Diet Cokes a month in order to help! Are you?
My monthly abolitionist payment is a tiny drop in the bucket for what is needed. But together WE CAN make a substantial difference in helping this amazing cause.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
― Helen Keller
I promise that when you see this charge show up on your credit card or bank statement each month, it will make you happy. Happy knowing you are joining thousands of others, each of us doing our small part, to help obliterate child slavery.