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"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Many of you have asked what can be done to stop sex-trafficking before it begins.
In a country like Moldova, there is little happening in regards to stopping sex-traffickers. We heard story after story of traffickers abducting kids all over the country. It takes time to establish strong programs and work with solid partners. Our plan is to focus on Rescue and Restoration at first, while we are working on Prevention.
In Russia, it's a different story. We've been working here since 1994 and have a number of programs that stop sex-trafficking before they begin.
Let me tell you about Masha.
Masha left the orphanage at 15 and was sent to a tech school–an underfunded holding tank for kids who learn how to lay brick or paint walls.
One day, a group of professional looking, wealthy women came to the school and interviewed the girls for the best jobs in Russia.
They were promised fancy clothes, expensive jewelry, and all the money they could hope for if they were selected.
Masha was chosen, and she thought her dreams had come true.
She was taken to the city center, put in a rundown apartment and beaten.
They forced her to work in a strip club. Then, they told some men were coming to her apartment to train her to learn how to have sex with a man–how to "please" him.
"You'll be pleasing 10 men each day," they said.
Masha quickly realized this dream had turned into a ugly nightmare. She was hours away entering the sex trade. The life of a forced prostitute awaited her, and she was scared to death.
While this was unfolding, she remembered the staff at Children's HopeChest. "Could they help me?"
She told me how she remembered how much our staff cared for her and other orphans. She knew exactly where to go. She had a plan. She walked out the door and ran to the HopeChest Ministry Center in Kostroma.
Our staff immediately called the authorities, and brought her to a safe place to live so she'd be protected.
Young girls like Masha, and the women in the Young Mothers Program are the most vulnerable to trafficking and forced prostitution like this.
Our Young Mother's Program provides daily ministry and services to mothers and children through our Ministry Center.
These young moms, are taught how to care for their babies by a professional nanny. They can drop their kids off to the nursery there so they can go to work or school. The Ministry Center provides Young Mothers with the help they need at this critical stage in their life.
This is what Prevention looks like.
We are able to help hundreds of girls because of the Ministry Center and the Young Mothers Program. These are some of the best programs HopeChest offers in Russia. To find out more details about our Ministry Center outreach, we've posted details on this special page. If you would like information on supporting the Young Mothers Program, please download this PDF for a full overview.
To give now, click the button below and put Young Mothers or Ministry Centers in the notes section.
Thanks so much for following our journey and being a part of making a difference. Leaving Kostroma and off to Vladimir Region!