For a family in crisis it’s not just about not having enough work to buy food to eat. It’s about the debt that a family gets into because they don’t have enough to pay for something up front. The money is easy enough to get at first. If your friends or neighbors won’t loan it to you there are always the loan sharks. The problem is the 20% weekly interest that they often charge until you can pay back the full amount of your loan. The family debt spirals out of control and you have no way to get out of it. It’s designed to trap you, and it does.
When we meet a family they are often not only struggling to feed themselves, but also struggling to pay back the money they owe.
Poverty, and especially debt bondage, is a huge factor in parents knowingly, or unknowingly, placing their own children into situations of trafficking and bonded labor. 43% of children who are trafficked are placed there by their families.
Myanmar/Burma is ranked as a 3rd tier country regarding human trafficking based on the 2019 US State Department Trafficking in Human Persons Report. “The Government of Burma does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so”…
“Traffickers subject children to sex trafficking or to forced labor, at times through debt-based coercion, in teashops, small businesses, the agricultural and construction sectors, and in begging. Traffickers subject children and adults to forced domestic servitude.”
Almost every family we meet is a high risk family for future trafficking. But we don’t have any stories to tell you about rescuing children from human trafficking. That’s because what we do prevents it from from ever happening.
When you help families get stronger, their children are safer. When they don’t feel all alone, when they have someone to walk with them through crisis, they have other choices.
Most of the families who receive emergency food supplies from our rescue team report that this is the beginning of the climb out of spiraling debt.
When they attend family education classes they learn how to protect and strengthen their children.
When families join a Village Savings and Loan Association they can save enough to pay off their debts, and they have a community of support from whom they can borrow in a structured way at a reasonable repayment rate. When they do repay their loan the funds can go back into strengthening their own community, not to make rich someone who will extort them and prey on their children.
The families you have helped when they are in these difficult and dangerous situations don’t have to make the dreadful choice of sending a child to work to pay off debts. Thanks to you they are strong enough to protect their own children.
If you aren’t already giving monthly to support family rescue and strengthening, please consider it. It’s consistent support, so we can keep showing up for these families every week that makes the difference in their lives. You can Keep a Family Together. Click on the link to give.