Ukraine (MNN) — 60 percent of orphans aging out of the orphanage system in Ukraine are at risk of getting involved in human trafficking. These are young people who have been a part of a broken system, then forced into society without any training or accountability. Christians need to be involved.
Amy Richey is serving with EFCA’s Reach Global in Ukraine. “Ukraine is consistently listed as one of the top five source countries for human trafficking in the world. So, we have every type of trafficking that you can imagine.”
According to Richey, understanding who’s being targeted is the first step in prevention. “Right at the top of the list are students who are aging out of the orphanage system.” That happens between 16 and 18 years old. The government gives them just enough to get by, but not enough to thrive.
“[These students] are given a room which is often almost uninhabitable,” says Richey. “The rooms are shared. There are several orphan graduates living in these units who have come from a bad situation and it almost becomes a worse situation.”
Many of these young people get into trouble financially and are lured into human trafficking by evil people who tell them they can have a better life in another part of the world. They tell them they can get a free education, get a good job and make a life for themselves. But, that never happens.
Richey says, “You have young students who are literally turned loose in very large city settings and they don’t know how to function. They don’t know how to live.”
The orphanage system causes this. Richey says, “They’re told when they need to get up. They’re told when they need to go to class. Their fed cafeteria style, there’s not personal choices. They live a life that’s dictated to them. The system is just very broken.”
That means they don’t know how to budget, go grocery shopping, apply for school, pay bills, save money and make healthy choices.
The evangelical church had ignored this, but now they’re involved. EFCA Reach Global is partnering with them. “We have to look at how to prevent situations or we’ll constantly be in this cycle. So, the church has been very instrumental and integral in helping us to help Ukrainians understand what the issue is.”
Now EFCA is partnering with two other organizations to establish a transitional home to help graduates not only learn how to make wise choices, but also to help prevent human trafficking. “If you have 13 orphan grads in a home and you have people who are involved in their lives and churches they are connected with. There is accountability. There is training. There is someone who cares for their daily life.”
That alone can be what keeps these young people from becoming human trafficking victims. Richey says since the church is involved, they’ll be told about God and His love for them. “When we help students understand that is who God is, it can’t help but change their world and their worldview as they go through life.”
Richey says it’s about one student at a time. It takes time. She’s asking you to pray against the strongholds in not only Ukraine, which is a source nation, but also the destination nations. Funding is also needed to help update the building so it can house orphan graduates.
EFCA Reach Global also needs volunteers. “We are recruiting 22 internship positions that are 23 months long. This is primarily targeted at students who are just finishing college or university degrees. Everyone needs to be involved in anti-trafficking.”
The internship program is designed to use people with varying skills. “We need marketing students. We need nurse. We need social workers. We also need a business manager. We also need logistics people. We have a whole list on our website.”
You can find that information at http://www.EFCA.org and look for the Kiev City Team link.