“Brokenness is the bow from which God launches the arrows of healing.”– Louie Giglio
The homes in this region of the Philippines have an unusual foundation: years of garbage, packed down into hardened alleyways and paths to the homes built haphazardly along the way. They used whatever they could find to create shelter, covered with tarps and tires and sheets of plastic.
Yet there is no protection in this community – from the elements or from one of the darkest industries in modern times: the sex trade.
The staff of the Philippines Child Rescue Home (PCRH) knew this community well, as many of the girls they helped rehabilitate (after ministries like the International Justice Mission [IJM] rescued them from bars and brothels) were born there. Seemingly bred into the sex industry, the girls were inducted at a young age, some by the time they were three-years-old. Now years later, the staff fought to redeem these young women who knew of no other future.
If only we could reach the girls earlier, the directors thought, before any of this becomes so ingrained.
That was the day that the vision of the Philippines Child Rescue Home began to shift – not because of the directors or staff, but because of the girls themselves. As they healed and overcame their past, God grew in them a heart to help others avoid the same path. And on that day the staff was dreaming of a new, preventative ministry, the girls came to ask how they could help, if they could go out in the community and tell their story as a warning.
Can you imagine the power of that outreach? Assisted by the staff and local pastors, groups of girls who once worked the streets are returning with an entirely different mission: they alone know the dangers that await, and they can speak into the culture they know so well.
More than 100 young people attended their first event.
Given their audience of young, increasingly sexualized girls, the Rescue Home alumni give talks about healthy and unhealthy relationships, the warning signs and the tricks others may use to exploit you, how to understand your own value and self-worth, especially in God’s eyes.
And they return monthly to check in, assessing the community and establishing relationships with the girls and their families. Each time they bring an invitation to break the cycle of abuse and shame completely by attending a school that the PCRH helps run. In just a few weeks, six girls accepted the invitation to join the program. They have a safe place to live at the rescue home as they attend school and learn new marketable skills.
They also have many role models in the alumni outreach group. Young women like Sharyl, who is finishing her first year of college. Or Amelia, who has finished her schooling and dreams of becoming an attorney. She helps the other girls form the outreach groups, a job she considers “a prayer come true.”
Young women like Sharyl and Amelia are not afraid of their past. They understand now that it is a valuable tool in the fight against trafficking and exploitation. And their courage and willingness to share their God-centered redemption are taking back their community. It is a powerful work to witness – but you can participate in it, too.
The Philippines Child Rescue Home works with several One Child Matters schools and programs in the Philippines, including those struggling to recover from the devastating effects of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Children at PCRH aren’t available for sponsorship, but you can help us support PCRH’s ministry. Even the smallest amount can add to the arsenal of these brave young women moving to the front lines of the fight against human trafficking.