Human Trafficking

Numbers – Cifras

I opened the newspaper, and the numbers screamed out at me. A lot of talk about El Salvador is reduced to its numbers. Number one murder rate in the world…Leading the world in the number of child homicides every day…Number one rate of femicide…Record numbers of undocumented child refugees fleeing El Salvador for the U.S…High numbers of daily deportations. Headline after headline points to the number of the dead, the number of criminals, the number of students dropping out of school because of the violence, the number of new shelters being set up around the country as families are forced out of their homes by the killings on their doorsteps. The numbers climb until they swirl around like some vast, dark cloud of despair. The numbers can crush us. When […]

It’s Complicated

Está yuca. That’s a Salvadoran slang phrase that basically means that it’s complicated. It’s messed up,  and it’s tough to sort out. We use that phrase a lot around our office, and that’s because almost every one of our clients comes to us with layers of complication. Poverty, violence, systems that are practically rigged against them. Here is a glimpse… There is the boy coming to New Dawn because gangs threatened his life back in his hometown. He had to flee and he fled to the streets of San Salvador. Life on the streets is hard…abuse and addiction soon become the cycle that he can’t escape. There is the man who was traumatized as a child, and eventually turned to alcohol. Over time, he lost his wife, his job, his […]

Angela’s Story

“When I am at the center, I have the urge to sniff glue but if I give in to it, they won’t let me come in. When I visit the center, I can eat and shower before I go back out to the street; I couldn’t do that before. That is why I like to come. We do activities and they treat me really well.”  Angela*, age 15 Angela is 15 years old and living on the streets of San Salvador. Her story is like the story of many of El Salvador’s street kids. Her father died when she was less than a year old and she has no memories of him. She struggled with her mother to survive, sleeping in public bathrooms, doorways, and anywhere they could find shelter until […]

The Human Trafficking Risk Facing Migrant Children

  “Love you neighbor as yourself.”  We grow up hearing this concept that comes straight from the teachings of the Bible. We believe it, and it may even move our hearts to action. But who are our neighbors? This month is Human Trafficking Awareness Month so I want to take a moment to consider our closest neighbors and the trafficking risks they may be facing. If you are in the U.S.A. and reading this, your neighbors include Mexicans and Central Americans. You don’t have to go far to meet them. As I’m sure you’ve heard, the violence in Central American’s Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) are sending hundreds of vulnerable children north in search of peace and safety. The situation is grim in El Salvador for children in high-risk […]

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Christmas in El Salvador is always so much fun, and this year was no exception! There is a lot of joy to be found in bringing laughter, joy, and hope to those who feel disconnected from family and community during the holidays. We are grateful that we had the opportunity to step in and minister to our clients who may otherwise feel alone during the Christmas season. We want to say a big thanks to our donors for helping to make our Christmas celebrations happen this year! We gave gifts and threw parties for all the survivors that we work with, we had a huge party in the CISNA boys’ center, and we had our annual Christmas Eve party where we invited all of our clients off the streets and […]

Our Girls

Yesterday marked the International Day of the Girl. It’s a day to focus on girls, and issues that they are facing around the world. It’s easy to see girls as vulnerable and in need of protection but we can also see them as powerful members of their communities. Research tells us that when girls are educated, their whole communities are impacted. We can acknowledge the challenges, but also celebrate the victories. Here in El Salvador, girls are facing overwhelming obstacles. Many of the girls we work with have experienced the very worst that life has to offer in the very short time that they have been on this earth. Some have been trafficked, others abused and neglected. Many of them live in fear. The situation created by gangs and poverty […]

The Ripple Effect

When you drop a stone into a pond there is an initial plunk and then the splash of water. Around the place where the stone dropped ripples spread out until the calm, quiet of the pond is completely interrupted by ripples of various sizes. No part of it is left untouched. I am seeing that violence has a similar affect on society, at least on the society here in El Salvador. Our tiny home has made international news for the worst possible reason…a soaring homicide rate. August closed with more than 900 murders. That is in a country the size of Massachusetts. As the ripples of violence spread, lives are marked by terror and fear. Some of the women who sell bras in our Free The Girls program can no […]

Imagine

Courage and strength…these qualities can be hard to come by when we grow up in the best of environments. Now, imagine that you did not grow up in a healthy environment. Imagine that you grew up in a hard situation, that your mother was gone most nights prostituting herself, that your father wasn’t around, and that your siblings didn’t even have the same father as you. Imagine that gangs moved into your neighborhood and forced you to do things you didn’t want to do. Imagine that you were exploited, intimidated, and soon you were in so deep that there was no way out. Imagine that you went to jail, and had a baby there. Imagine the fear, the weakness, the uncertainty. Imagine that you don’t have to imagine any of this […]

Love Like A Gangster

In El Salvador, Valentine’s Day is called “Love and Friendship Day” and last month we celebrated love and friendship with all of the women involved in the Free The Girls program here in El Salvador. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece were visiting so they helped serve, and a group of women in the States that pray regularly for the girls helped to sponsor the party. We had pizza and candy, a raffle, and a discussion about love. The reality is that these women have received some very mixed-up messages about love. Sex is very distorted in their minds, and abuse and manipulation by “boyfriends” have further confused any notion of romance, love, and affection for them. Part of my work with them is addressing the lies about what love is […]

At Risk

Risk. It’s a word that we hear thrown around in conversation. “Don’t risk it.” “Take a risk.” “At your own risk.” Sometimes the thought of a risk seems thrilling, exciting, on the edge. Other times it seems foolish and like something best avoided. We do a lot of things to take the risk factor right out of our lives. We live in homes with doors that lock, and drive cars with airbags and seat belts. We make choices about our health, our bodies, and what we put into them. We wear sunblock, and floss our teeth to lower our risks, to extend our lives, and to avoid sickness and pain. But what if you were born “at risk?” What if you stepped out of a warm, safe place and in […]

Mini Cart 0

Your cart is empty.