Break the Chains of Slavery

by The GOD'S CHILD Project
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Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery

Dear Friends and Supporters of ITEMP,

Thank you for your past support of the Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons (ITEMP). Without people like you we could not fight human trafficking and child labor in Guatemala and around the world. Your support not only helps us to prevent human trafficking and exploitation, but also helps us to rescue and provide rehabilitation to trafficking victims.Your generous contribution allows us to help many different types of victims - including Karen, who we are trying to save from the vicious cycle of human trafficking.

Let me tell you the story about our current plea for help from Karen’s mother and how we are doing everything we can to bring her home safely.   

 A MOTHER’S HORROR...

The day was sunny and the weather perfect last week when Patrick walked into the Project’s Dreamer Center.  It was only eight o’clock, yet already a line was forming outside the Atkinson Family Clinics, which open at nine. 

The day changed dramatically when Patrick rounded the corner at the bottom of the ramp that brings you in to the Dreamer Center.  There he found Maria standing surrounded by several of our volunteers and team members.   When she saw him she shouted out, “Ai, Patricio” and began to cry.

Maria dates back to the earliest months of 1991, when The GOD’S CHILD Project was born. She and Patrick met in Guatemala City, where he would walk the streets of the Zona 5 slums, looking for the boys and girls who had written and asked him to return to Guatemala, and help them again.  One of these boys was now a street hardened gang member named Walter Luna.  Living with him on the streets was Maria's 12-year old son, Danny. The GOD'S CHILD Project and ITEMP got Danny off the streets and into school. Since then, Maria and The GOD’S CHILD Project have also gotten six of her other children through school.

Wading through Maria's tears and screams, Patrick put his arm over her shoulder and walked her to a bench that sits among the bushes under the wall.  He already knew that her youngest daughter, Karen, had been taken three months ago and Maria didn’t know where Karen had gone. 

Patrick also knew that Karen was developmentally challenged and had gone to a special education school in Guatemala City.  “She’s a physically beautiful child,” Maria always says, “However; her ability to reason and care for herself just isn’t there.”

Karen called me last night, Maria said through her tears.  She said she had been tricked into going with a woman, and that she was in the United States. Now she wants to come home. 

Being the practical guy that Patrick is, he dove into trying to get as many details from Maria as he possibly could.  From what city did Karen call?  Was there a phone number for her?  Most importantly, how was Karen doing?

Shooing away the school children who were coming close because they either wanted to say ‘hi’ or they wanted to see why this woman under his arm was crying, Patrick told Maria that he had lots of friends in the FBI and who worked as police. All we need is a phone number, a name, a city, and we will bring Karen home.

"Karen didn’t know where she was," Maria told him through her tears, "and she didn’t know her address or phone number. She had found some money and paid someone to let her make a phone call… the way we do it here in Guatemala… and all she said was that someone tricked her and she wants to come home.” 

Having nothing more to learn, Patrick gave Maria his home and cell phone numbers, and made her promise to call him the instant Karen called again.  He taught her how to retrieve an incoming number, and made her swear that she would get as much information from Karen as she could.  Patrick reassured her, “If we get anything solid, I’ll be on a plane to that city tomorrow.”

As of today, Karen is still missing and living somewhere in the United States.  She hasn’t called back, and her mother struggles to sleep at night.  To be honest, we find ourselves thinking about Karen too, wondering, listening, trying to hear if we can learn where she is.

Please say a special prayer for Karen tonight before you go to bed.  She is out there somewhere.  The GOD’S CHILD Project is doing all we can to bring her home.  Your love, prayers, and financial support are what make it all possible.

Please join us in finding Karen, and other children like her who have been tricked into leaving their homes and trafficked around the world. Every child we rescue and provide with an education helps us move towards breaking the bitter chains of slavery and poverty for their families, giving them hope for a brighter future. 


Blessings,


Melissa Schroden
Special Opportunities Coordinator
The GOD’S CHILD Project | ITEMP (Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons)
“Breaking the chains of poverty through education and formation”
Guatemala | El Salvador | Malawi | India | United States                       

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Thank you for your past support of the Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons (ITEMP)! Without people like you we could not fight human trafficking and child labor in Guatemala and around the world. Your support not only helps us to prevent human trafficking and exploitation, but also helps us to rescue and provide rehabilitation to trafficking victims and potential trafficking victims. 

Your generous contribution allows us to help many different types of victims - including Jose, who is now flourishing here in Guatemala.  Jose is a young man who was able to leave the streets and return to the classroom thanks to supporters of ITEMP like you. Jose comes from a broken home and was just 15 days old when his mother abandoned him and didn’t want anything to do with him. At the same time, Jose’s father decided to travel to the United States to search for better opportunities and left Jose with his sister. Jose's sister did not have the resources to take care of both of them so his grandmother took over and worked very hard to give Jose and his sister a good life.

As the years passed and Jose grew up it became harder and harder for his grandmother to take care of Jose. She could no longer cover all of the costs for the family since she was unable to find stable work due to her age. Jose then decided to study in the mornings and work in the afternoons to help his grandmother support the family. This proved to be very difficult because his classmates made fun of him for working shining shoes.

Jose worked in Antigua, Guatemala’s central park where he met several people older than himself who became negative influences; teaching him to fight and smoke and leading him to other dangerous situations at just thirteen years old. As time went on, Jose still attended school occasionally but he preferred working and paid little attention to his studies. Soon, ITEMP learned about Jose’s case and decided to accept him into the program in order to give him a better quality of life. The first thing that they asked him to do was to quit working and allow the program to help him economically so that Jose could focus on his studies. At first Jose refused to quit working because his grandmother was sick and the family didn’t have enough money to buy her medicine.

ITEMP placed Jose in the Scheel Center Technical Institue so that he could continue his studies in a structured environment. He didn’t like to attend class at first but little by little he got used to his new school and began thriving. In addition to an education, ITEMP also provided medical care and psychological assistance which have helped Jose get where he is today. Jose's grandmother also no longer needs to work because of the economic help that the program has been able to provide. Currently, Jose is 17 years old and will be finishing the 7th grade this year. Thanks to ITEMP and your previous contribution, Jose is no longer exposed to the dangers of working on the streets in Guatemala at such a young and impressionable age and is no longer at-risk of becoming a trafficking victim. Instead, Jose is receiving an education that will help him to find a better paying job when he grows up.

Jose´s case is just one of many that ITEMP has been able to take on thanks to donors like you. ITEMP wants to sincerely thank you for your support of ITEMP. We hope you will consider sharing stories like Jose's in order to help us raise awareness of human trafficking in Guatemala and also share how donors like you can make a difference. 

Kind Regards,

Kendell Martell

Director of Benefactor Services

Asociación Nuestros Ahijados de Guatemala, ONG

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Alicia* is from a poor town in the department of Escuintla, Guatemala. She started working from a young age to help her parents so she was never able to go to school. At the age of 9 she went out with her mom to sell tortillas and earn a living. As she got older she noticed that her parents had a hard time finding work and she had to look for work to earn more income for the family.

When Alicia was 14 years old she had traveled to the center of Escuintla and at about 10 in the morning on her way back to her house two men pulled her into a car and drugged her. Alicia doesn’t remember exactly what happened after that. The only thing that she remembers is that after drugging her the men took her to a vacant lot and raped her. When the men were done with her they left her near her house.

When she arrived home her mom asked her what had happened and Alicia was ashamed and didn’t want to tell her what had happened. However, a few hours later she worked up the courage to tell her mom that she had been raped. Alicia´s mom was surprised by what had happened to her daughter but there wasn’t much that they could do about it. Alicia shut herself in the house for several weeks. She didn’t want to leave because the neighbors made fun of her for what had happened to her. ITEMP learned about the case and started to help Alicia. First they made sure she had psychological care and then they took her to be examined by a doctor to make sure she was physically healthy. She was later helped with clothes, shoes and was given some economic help.

Alicia continues to receive medical, psychological and other support from the project. She has a job and helps with the costs at home.

 

*Name changed to protect child’s identity

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Magda* is 8 years old and is from Masagua, Escuintla. Her parents never had the chance to go to school because they had to work as children to help support their families. There used to be 15 people in Magda’s family however due to different circumstances 5 of her siblings passed away and 2 have started their own families so now she just lives with her parents and 5 siblings.

The family lived on a plantation called El Socorro in Masagua for 30 years. Five years ago they decided to move to their current home. Upon moving there they realized that to earn money they needed to collect recyclables from the municipal dump of Escuintla.

There Magda, her parents and her sisters picked out recyclable material from the garbage since they were only able to earn enough to put food on the table if all of them were working. The girls were never able to go to school because they had to work. Magda worked from 9 to 5 every day and earned Q40 a day which she gave to her mother. Magda and her sisters collected cans and sold them in the dump.

ITEMP found out about the case and Magda and her sisters were entered into the program so that they could quit working in the dump and get the education that they need so that when they grow up they can have a job with a decent wage. They were also given economical support, clothes, shoes, psychological care and medical exams. The mother was given the opportunity to take jewelry-making and literacy classes. Magda and her sisters want to continue in school and help their parents get out of poverty. Magda´s mom is very thankful for the help that ITEMP has provided her family with. 

 

*Name has been changed to protect the child's identity

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This child was brought into the ITEMP program at the end of 2010. He is originally from Guatemala City and comes from a broken home where his parents beat him and treated him poorly due to their alcohol problems. The mother abandoned the home because her husband had an accident which made it difficult for him to work since he was only able to get around in a wheelchair. Due to the separation of the parents no one took responsibility for the children and they went to live with an aunt.

Because of the aunt´s lack of income she asked the children to wash clothes for other people to earn some extra income. As the days went by the aunt began to change. She treated her nieces and nephews poorly, especially this boy who she physically and verbally abused. He worked as a mechanic to help earn more income for the family.

He is currently living in Chimaltenango with his father, sisters and brothers-in-law. He received help from ITEMP including clothes, shoes, educational support, medical treatment and economic support. He also helps his brothers-in-law fixing motorcycles and cars because he has liked working on vehicles since he was little.

The boy´s father has changed quite a bit after his accident and is grateful for the God´s Child Project and all of the support that we have provided for his son when he couldn´t provide for him. The boy is now in 5th grade and hopes to continue to improve his life.

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Organization Information

The GOD'S CHILD Project

Location: Bismarck, ND - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
RINA LAZO
Director of Benefactor Services
Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez Guatemala
$45,920 raised of $70,000 goal
 
790 donations
$24,080 to go
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