Cambodia (MNN) — Eight Americans will face human trafficking head on when the World Hope International Hope Corps team leaves the U.S. this Saturday, November 14. The team will travel to Cambodia, one of the poorest countries in the world and consequently one with very high trafficking rates.
WHI has been working in Cambodia since 2005. Their Assessment Center offers medical attention, counseling, job training, safety and the hope of Jesus Christ mainly to girls who have been taken as slaves to the sex trade. The Assessment Center also works with local anti-trafficking groups and authorities to prosecute offenders and pull as many as possible away from the horrifying trade.
"This is a program that has really helped about 425 girls over the last four years," notes Debbie Hoover, leader of the upcoming trip. "These girls are younger than 15; a lot of the girls are four- and five-years-old, and they have really experienced mental and physical trauma."
The Hope Corps team will meet these girls and get the chance to serve at the center. They will also visit WHI schools and after-school programs, which help serve as preventative measures to trafficking. The team will help American onlookers learn more about trafficking, how to stop it, and how to teach others about its effects nationally and internationally.
"A big part of this trip is coming back to the United States and determining what God is saying to us so that we can come back and do some significant kinds of work in the area of anti-trafficking," says Hoover.
Hoover hopes that participants will be motivated to fight trafficking when they arrive back in the U.S. She anticipates a spread in awareness to family, friends, churches and even government officials, raising awareness about the affects of the issue around the world as well as in the United States.
"It's not just a problem in Cambodia, but it's a world problem, and people need to know. Sometimes we just have our ears closed to this; we just aren't open to this issue. So I think that we'll be effective tools that Christ can use to tell about this evil and to bring a saving knowledge to the people who are [involved]."
As the trip embarks for the ten-day trip, prayer is needed. "[Pray] that we will have our eyes opened to what God has to say about this issue, and that we will come back and share that."
World Hope International has anti-trafficking programs in several other nations besides Cambodia, each with a unique set of stories but the same unfortunate problem. To learn more about WHI's work on abolishing human slavery, visit their Web site.