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Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
We'll pause and give more thought to the phenomenon of modern day slavery, but there's still a child forced into sex slavery every 2 minutes. Explore the issue more with our friends at iEmpathize.
Many of the children in the sex trade are orphans with no one to protect and look out for them. I want to tell you about Sveta in Russia, a girl who we helped avoid sex trafficking. Many people read a blog, but over the past year you have engaged the global orphan crisis with your prayers and your finances, and I cannot thank you enough.
Meet Sveta, just one of the many girls you are helping…
Sveta's parents abandoned her to the orphanage shortly after her birth. She was their fifth daughter and her mother and father decided they had "enough" girls already.
As a young girl, Sveta loved animals and dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. She also wondered about her biological family. She knew exactly where they lived, and knew she was the only child they abandoned.
Sveta wanted her parents and sisters to be proud of her.
After leaving the orphanage, Sveta accepted a place in our Independent Living Program. Thanks to the efforts of her house parents, she got into veterinarian school and successfully graduated.
Soon she re-connected with her sister and brother-in-law. Wanting to help her family so much, Sveta allowed them to use her credit card. But when they refused to pay her, they left Sveta on her own.
They told her that a young and attractive girl could easily get a "job" to pay her debts.
Sveta became scared and overwhelmed. She kept this all a secret, locked inside. Then, Sveta was sued by the credit card company. Desperate to avoid jail, Sveta could not think straight and began to consider all her options…she was ready to do anything.
Fortunately, her house parents intercepted one of the notices from the court. The immediately got involved, cleared up the matter with the courts, and helped Sveta avoid further prosecution.
Now, Sveta is married and lives on a farm with her husband where she takes care of many animals as a successful young professional.
Without the Independent Living Program house parents, Sveta very well could have made a different choice. She could have turned to prostitution to solve her problem.
Sveta–without the protection of a father and the love of a mother–could have chosen to become a prostitute.
Sveta is like the thousands of children we are trying to help this year through our sex trafficking initiative (Read more here). Many girls in Russia face similar choices. At HopeChest, we are active about taking girls like Sveta into our living programs and Ministry Centers to teach, guide, mentor, and love them into a healthy adulthood.