Break the Chains of Slavery

 
$30,864
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Dec 29, 2011

New Year's Resolution Time!

Credit Ray Conway
Credit Ray Conway

The end of the year is the perfect moment to reflect on the work that has been carried out during the year.

Despite our hard work, 2.5 million people are being trafficked right now. These victims are usually our most fragile neighbors: children, young women, and runaways who are abused, degraded, and victimized.

Guatemala is no exception. This is why we work to prevent, rescue, recover and rehabilitate human trafficking victims. This year, we rescued 12 trafficking victims. A dozen broken people, who had been ruthlessly exploited and denied their basic human rights. There was Maria, who came to Antigua hoping for a better future and had her life turned to hell when she was forced into domestic labor and pressured to sell her children. There was Gabriela, who had been sexually exploited in horrific ways. Twelve lives changed permanently because of our help and protection.

ITEMP provided all of them with medical and psychological care, social and legal assistance, as well as with education. And most importantly, we gave each person their dignity back.

The end of the year is also the best time for New Year’s Resolution. Ours is to keep rescuing victim after victim after victim. We resolve to keep fighting against modern day slavery in all of its terrible shapes.

What is your resolution? Will you help us in our battle? You can make a difference in 2012. You can offer a fresh start and a new life to a trafficking victim with a simple donation. Happy New Year from each of our rescued victims, and from all of us at The Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons.

Links:

Dec 27, 2011

Education, a Priceless Gift

Credit Taylor Aubin
Credit Taylor Aubin

There are gifts you remember. This year, Ana will remember hers. And she’ll remember us. Because to Ana, ITEMP is the closest thing to Santa Claus she has ever experienced. Better than she dreamed of, she says.

And if there is one thing—probably the only thing—that Ana has never lacked, it’s dreams. When you listen to this young woman, you cannot help being fascinated by her willingness to fight and determination to live a meaningful life.

But life has not been so tender to Ana. She was born the product of rape, into a family where her mother’s husband vowed never to love her. To earn his approval,Ana dressed and acted like a boy. And worked liked one, too. Ana fell victim to labor exploitation and was soon told to go work near Guatemala’s border with El Salvador. But, thankfully, Ana refused. She knew that the “work” was in a brothel, and refused to let her life end in such a painful way. So she ran away.

When Ana first came to us, her aged face told a million stories of pain, anger, distrust,and even violence. But Ana is an artist and a poet, too, so music and acting soothes her to some extent. There is much more work to be done with Ana, though.

When she entered our program, Ana was given a bed, a new school uniform, a living allowance, medical and psychological care and, most importantly, an education. Unlike most girls her age, Ana’s Christmas wish wasn’t for new clothes or more makeup. Her dream was simple and yet so powerful: Just let me keep going to school, she said. And, for the first time in Ana’s life, she will go to school for the second year in a row. And this is priceless for her. But not for us. Not for you. With a donation of only $25, you can support Ana’s school tuition for a month.

What’s your wish for Christmas this year? A new DVD? Or a better world for us all? Make Ana’s simple wish come true this holiday season with your generous donation.

Links:

Dec 19, 2011

Promises to Carlitos

Carlitos
Carlitos

Carlitos came to us a few years ago. He was scared. He was scarred. He had been abused in horrific, stomach-wrenching ways. He was only 7 years old but had already lived a lifetime of trauma and abuse. Carlitos was sold by his desperate mother to a man who did unspeakable things to him.

He was placed in a loving foster family, one of our best. He was enrolled in school and given new clothing. We bought him new shoes and a back pack and everything else a little boy needs to fit in. Most importantly for Carlitos, though, we set up frequent visits to our staff psychologist.

Slowly, carefully, and with lots of love, we learned about what happened to Carlitos. We taught him boundaries and rules. And he started teaching us, too. He quickly became the face of our programs, greeting new visitors with a friendly smile and quick sense of humor.

Carlitos graduated from primary school last month. His foster father, who he calls “papa,” was there to cheer as he accepted his diploma. We try not to pick favorites, but when a child has come this far in a few short years, you can’t help but feel so proud of his accomplishments.

We’re more proud of Carlitos than words can express. But we also know that he has a long way to go. He’s about to hit puberty, which can be a rollercoaster even for children raised in the best environments. We’ve promised Carlitos that we’ll stay with him as long as he stays in school and keeps being such a great kid. But we need your help to keep that promise. Please, donate today to give Carlitos the bright future we all see for him.

Links:

Dec 9, 2011

On Human Rights Day, Do What's Right!

Photo Credit: VisualReportage.com
Photo Credit: VisualReportage.com

Young women and girls forced into prostitution? Invisible. Men forced to do dangerous and tiring work for little or no reward? Invisible.  Children worked to exhaustion and vulnerable to abuse? Invisible. 

Here in Guatemala, ITEMP works directly with victims of human trafficking. However, we also try to raise awareness about trafficking in a country where human rights are routinely violated. Lately, we've been reaching out to trafficking victims and educating the general public through weekly radio spots. Many families in Guatemala--especially the poorest, most at-risk ones--don't have a TV or read the newspaper. Radio is their connection to the world. 

Did you know that more than 2.5 million people are human trafficking victims right now?  That’s a lot of invisible people.

Today, on International Human Rights Day, do what’s right: help us restore the rights and dignity of human trafficking victims. Stand up for the millions of invisible slaves in our modern world with your donation.

ITEMP helped Ana, Gabriela, Carlos, Jose and Maria fight for their rights. We provided them with safe housing, medical and psychological care, social and legal assistance, and education. Education is the key for vulnerable children to break out of generational poverty, learn their rights and become less of a target for human traffickers.

Human trafficking is a crime that shames us all and violates basic human rights. This is why we work to prevent, rescue, recover and rehabilitate human trafficking victims. So today, on International Human Rights Day, do what’s right: help us give trafficking victims a voice. Help us give them their lives back!

Links:

Dec 1, 2011

From Hell to Hope

Boy in Garbage Dump
Boy in Garbage Dump

Have you ever been to a garbage dump? 9-year-old Mario most certainly has. Before we rescued him, Mario spent most of his time working in one.

Your first time in a garbage dump in Guatemala is not something you’ll forget. Only one word seems strong enough to describe it accurately: hell. The unbearable smell that almost makes you sick; the vultures circling over the endless hills of trash. And amongst it all, frail, malnourished children sifting through waste, hoping to find something to eat, recycle or sell. 

Scavenging in a garbage dump is considered amongst the most dangerous forms of child labor. Fires constantly burn in these pits, creating a toxic smoke that hangs thick in the air and stings the eyes. Exploding chemical bottles echo throughout the dump. Children are even more vulnerable because they are generally unaccompanied or out of their parents’ sight. Beyond the obvious health dangers lies another set of stranger danger for children who are often picked from these locations to be raped or sold into prostitution.

Since he has entered ITEMP’s program, Mario’s life has radically changed. He has been check out by our doctor, regularly visits our psychologist and is now enrolled in school. Not so long ago, Mario spent his days sorting trash and fighting for survival. Today, his main challenge is to get better at reading before the new school year starts in January. At last Mario has the freedom to be a kid; to play, to rest and to go to school. Your donation gave Mario this liberty. Thank you.

Links:

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Organization

Project Leader

Jose Roberto Arevalo

Antigua, Sacatepequez Guatemala

Where is this project located?

Map of Break the Chains of Slavery