Trust. This word is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as
The belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, and effective.
The Urban Dictionary included a definition stating the following;
Something that is built up by millimeters and broken down in meters.
Isn’t that powerful!?
Try to put yourself in this story…
You are a child born into the immensely beautiful yet impoverished villages of Thailand. Your village is located about 5 hours away from the City. Based on a lack of resources in addition to legal and discriminatory factors, you have not traveled far. Stories circulate regarding what goes on in the city- the good, bad and ugly.
In the vicinity is an educational structure, yet many people in this village remain uneducated.
In America, students are taught key subjects however something that is often taken for granted are the prevention programs- drug, alcohol, stranger danger as well as good touch/bad touch.
Your community does not have the capacity to offer programs like these. You are elementary age when you discover that your grandmother is ill. Resources are already scarce; this could potentially land your family into a state of further despair based on the cost of medical services.
In your village child labor isn’t seen as a crime, there certainly aren’t child labor laws. Every family member is seen as a vital organ to supporting the family, no matter the age. You have noticed that every once in a while a foreigner comes to your village and negotiates a price with families to meet their financial needs in exchange for their child, ‘to give them a better life’.
While your family has a vague idea of what this could truly mean, they desperately need the financial support and believe that you will have a better life in the foreigners care…at least better than they could offer you. You were sold by your family…whom you trusted.
You arrive in the city for the first time overwhelmed by the difference in language, development and materialism. With out much time passing (and leaving out many details) you are in fact not going to receive the better life you were promised. You now belong to a trafficker, who instills fear, worthlessness and an entirely distorted sense of love. Night after night your priceless body is sold off to countless customers, without your consent by someone…you have been told to trust.
While you are in the city you notice these adults in uniform, you learn quickly that they are policemen. You understand that their job is to protect you, but the people who have control over you relentlessly tell you that the police will only hurt you. Day after day they tell you that no one will help you and to never speak of what has happened to you because…you could be seen as a criminal, and you don’t want that- do you?
You no longer feel that you can trust these groups of professionals that society tells you you can. What is trust anyways? As far as you are concerned- no one can be trusted.
You are allowed to live on your own as long as you report for work when you are called. Your home is the street, the busy streets of this highly traveled city. You are fine by yourself though, because you have learned to protect yourself.
Night after night you learn how to face the many dangers that come in your way. Some nights you even have companionship from other children in your very situation.
Thankfully a team of trained professionals has come together and brought light upon your abuse. After thorough investigation and with proper authority, you are given an opportunity for freedom; you are offered safety and an opportunity for growth.
There are a vast number of professionals that you are told can be trusted- that makes you cringe.
In order to allow for full restoration, to protect the community and see justice served you are asked to comply with police. This seems like an impossible task. By this point you have lived in darkness for so long that it is hard to look into the light- in a strange way it hurts. There is fear of course, but something in you is saying to give this opportunity a chance.
The Hug Project Thailand is an organization that serves children with backgrounds similar to the one above. They have partnered with local authorities dedicated to seek justice, but also restoration and growth in the lives of the identified victims.
They believe that the relationship with authority figures needs to be redefined and developed so much so that they sacrifice their time and finances to make this a reality. While this understandably is a lifelong restoration process- every step of trust development is a victory.
The testimonial stories surrounding these two groups merging together to share sports games, meals, life skill training and laughs are truly inspirational. If you could wrap your mind around it, many of these children once living in despair have stated that their current goal is to become a Police Officer so that they too, can help restore this broken trust.
While there isn’t instant gratification, trust CAN be rebuilt with consistency, dedication, love and Christ as the center of it all! It is not always an easy journey, however each step is a step closer to change!
Kayty Marie is a recent graduate of Messiah College with a Bachelors in Social Work. Throughout her college career she had the opportunity to spend two semesters abroad interning in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She has recognized her calling to respond and seek justice in the area of Human Trafficking and Exploitation,specifically in South East Asia. Kayty also is passionate about writing, being outdoors, fitness and cooking. She is looking forward to seeing the doors that God opens in this new season of life.
Dear Kayty, Your commitment to the battle comes through so courageously on the pages of this writing. May God strengthen and guide you as you take your place in the war against sex trafficking. May your trust in Him be contagious for those young girls you will encounter.