But the discussion didn’t end with adoption, foster care, and residential care. Mike Douris of Orphan Outreach says the talks of partnership between the public and private sectors of Guatemala extended to the issue of sexual abuse and trafficking.
Even for a seasoned orphan care professional, the statistics are difficult to share. “There was an article that came out recently in the Guatemalan papers that said that eight out of ten women in Guatemala have been sexually abused in some manner. And the number of children that are 10 years old, 11 years old, 12 year old that are being raped and having babies is just horrendous in Guatemala,” says Douris.
Plans are already underway to develop a model of comprehensive care at a Guatemalan government home that serves girls and young mothers who have been raped, abused, or trafficked. Douris believes the partnership between the government and the private sector–especially the Guatemalan church–has the potential to change history.
“We’re actually having an opportunity to build a coalition of agencies who have a real burden for this particular issue, and be able to really talk to churches about how they can get into this area and make a big difference in these kids lives, but also educate the public of the massive problem of sexual abuse in Guatemala.