I have some friends who adopted a baby from Cambodia before the country closed to US adoptions. They adopted her from a state run orphanage that is still running today. Their adopted daughter is now 13 and this year she went back to Cambodia for the first time since leaving as a baby with her adopted family. She was able to visit her orphanage and see where she might have grown up had she not been adopted. What an emotional visit that must have been for her and her family!
Also during their trip, my friends visited a privately run orphanage called Asia’s Hope where some good friends of theirs work. This place doesn’t really deserve the name ‘orphanage,’ which conjures up images of dark, ramshackle buildings full of lonely, underfed kids. Asia’s Hope operates like a family with multiple small homes, each with a house mom and dad. The orphans are raised as their own right alongside their biological children.
I’ve become very interested in the plight of orphans and vulnerable children around the world and here in America. The more I’ve read about child sex trafficking, the more I’ve seen the link between the two issues. Orphans are far more vulnerable to things like sex trafficking, forced labor and forced begging. Even here in the States, girls growing up in foster care are astronomically more likely to be trafficked than other girls. It’s simple; when you care for orphans, you ensure that they are not preyed on by those who would profit from their vulnerability. Orphan care is nothing less than the prevention of trafficking.
Asia’s Hope has homes in Cambodia, Thailand and India, three of the worst places in the world for child sex trafficking. Every kid growing up at Asia’s Hope is a kid who won’t be forced into a brothel or enslaved at a brick yard. This week my $5 is going to support one less child slave, one less tragic ending to an otherwise promising life.