Ending child exploitation is one of the most pure, black and white causes I can imagine.”

Those words were spoken by Lucas, our Rescue Manager in the Dominican Republic, as he shared his heart for rescuing children from sexual exploitation.
While nearly everyone condemns child trafficking, few likely understand the combination of iron discipline and sensitive conscience it takes to be a rescuer. In an overflow of tender compassion, resolute souls venture undaunted into some of the most dangerous places on the planet to combat the most evil trade to ever exist.

It takes a rare sort of person to do this work. Let’s take a deeper look at the heart of a rescue agent.

Why rescue?

The first time Lucas was offered a child for sex, he wasn’t an agent.
He was travelling as a tourist when a trafficker approached him in an attempt to sell a child. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt so powerless to help somebody as I did in that moment, and never felt so compelled to help children like that,” Lucas said.

That moment changed Lucas forever. It was one thing to hear about child trafficking, but coming face to face with the reality of the issue drove him to act.

Once you… see children being exploited, you can’t unsee that. It changes you for the rest of your life.”

Each of our agents became a rescuer because they couldn’t ignore the plight of exploited kids. But the daily realities of rescue work present a whole new set of challenges.

Facing the Darkness

Needless to say, rescuing kids is not easy.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Success means freedom for a child to explore endless possibilities. Failure could lead to a life of sexual abuse.

For agents in the Dominican Republic, fear is a familiar companion. With the support of local law enforcement, our agents often work undercover, building relationships with dangerous criminals and communicating regularly with human traffickers who often also may deal drugs and weapons. Stress can be constant. Odd hours are the norm, and second-hand trauma is practically part of the job description.

Despite the daunting mountain of challenges they face each day, agents find a way to press on.

“I can’t imagine not doing this,” Lucas said. “Faith is what keeps me doing this each day. I’m reminded in my faith that once God has these kids, no matter what happens, they’re in his hands.”

As he works tough cases, rescue agent Jacob tries to keep a healthy perspective of his struggles in relation to victims. “You know, some people are just born in the wrong family, in the wrong place, and they end up being a victim of trafficking,” Jacob said. “No matter how hard it is for (me), for those victims, it’s harder.”

Having an understanding team who share each other’s burdens makes a huge difference. When speaking particularly about the danger of the mission they face, Criselda shared how her trust is so complete in her team, that she doesn’t even feel fear.

Worth the cost

These agents endure all this pain and stress for one reason: the kids.

Sometimes, they get to see how lives are changed for the better. They see once beaten-down, abused souls blossom into something they never could have imagined before.

I’ve learned to see the nobility of the children and adolescents… and they don’t even recognize it themselves,” Criselda said.

Other times, rescued kids will never know their rescuers. Jacob recalled during one raid in which he played the role of a child sex buyer. To maintain his cover, he and local law enforcement planned ahead of time for police to “arrest” him during the operation. The last he saw of the victims, police were leading them to safety while he was theatrically slammed into the hood of a squad car and cuffed.

But it’s all just part of the job; what matters in the end is rescue.

For all the sorrow and stress these agents bear, the results of their efforts are worth the cost.

agent quote

Making a difference

These agents don’t measure success by dollars earned, but by lives changed. With every child they rescue and every perpetrator they help put away, they drive back the darkness a little more. Lucas hopes that one day their skills won’t be needed anymore.

“I would love to put myself out of a job…,” Lucas said. “…to be able to make a big enough impact on a big enough scale where this kind of work isn’t necessary.”

Would you aid Lucas in that endeavour? Your contribution will push back the darkness a little further by helping bring the light of freedom to an exploited child. Fill out the form below to rescue a child today.

Get them out.

You can put them on the path to freedom.

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Thank you fighting for freedom. You’re now a part of a worldwide team that is helping to rescue and restore the sexually exploited. You’ll receive regular updates on the impact that your generosity is enabling and the lives changed because of you.

We’d love to get to know you more!