Last spring, our team in Thailand discovered a bar where children were being sold for sex. After confirming that the proprietors were actively and intentionally trafficking kids, we brought in the Thai police to conduct a raid. There are many benefits to conducting raids like this, not the least of which is putting traffickers behind bars. Our team carefully formed a plan with police, painstakingly addressing every detail to maximise our chances of saving as many kids as possible.

But it never happened. On the day of the raid, the bar closed down, ruining any chance of executing the operation. The traffickers and their victims were in the wind.

Joe, our project leader in the area, was suspicious of the timely shutdown. It seemed more than a coincidence that the bar would shutter its doors on the day that police had scheduled to raid. It’s possible that in planning the case, police let too many details filter out, and the traffickers were tipped off.

It’s not a common occurrence. While we conducted dozens of operations, culminating in the rescue of 688 people in Thailand last year, only two operations were blown before we got the chance to rescue. It is a tragic difficulty that may lead to losing track of the kids for good. But when there are more exploited kids waiting for freedom, there’s no time to mope: “When we’re done with one case, we start working on a new case,” Joe said.

This time, however, a new case offered a rare second chance.

That summer, while canvassing a different bar, our agents spotted the same trafficked children working in the new establishment. Whether the proprietor had changed operations or just sold the children to another trafficker, we had a second chance to rescue these kids.

The planning process began all over again. As the team prepared to raid, they tried to keep the operation tight so the traffickers wouldn’t be warned this time.

Their efforts paid off. This time, the raid went off without a hitch. In addition to rescuing the target children, they also picked up a 13-year-old who’d only arrived a few days earlier. 

The girls have a tough path ahead, but they will face it free. The 13-year-old, a victim of sexual abuse at home, was happy to stay in the government shelter for care after rescue. Another 16-year-old survivor was an orphan with a child of her own, driven into exploitation to provide for her baby. Now, she and other survivors are receiving vocational training from the government so that they’ll not have to resort to sex work just to make ends meet. 

You are the reason our agents can afford to be so tenacious. Your donations allow us to remain relentless in rescue, and the result is children freed from unimaginable abuse.

Thank you. 

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