All posts in “Highlights”

Meet a Survivor: Diya

This story of a precious girl named DIYA is so similar to many of the women you help us impact.

Diya is dirt-poor and barely-educated. She grew up in Bangladesh in the countryside. We don’t know the exact details, but the likelihood is that getting enough food for the day was the family’s primary struggle. And then someone came into that village and offered her a job — a house maid, they said. It seemed like the golden ticket, so Diya took it. Desperation makes any possibility of employment feel like winning the lottery.

And I wonder what it was like for 21-year-old Diya to say goodbye to her family, who also thought the job was legitimate. I wonder if she was excited, nervous, hopeful, scared. I wonder what her last words to her mother were as she drove away from her village, wonder if she promised to send back some of her salary to help feed brothers and sisters. I wonder.

When she crossed the border into the neighboring country of India, the story changed. And so did the job. Diya was quickly forced into prostitution by traffickers. Sit in that reality a minute, friends.

Thankfully, just a few days later, the team comprised completely of local nationals FOUND HER. They quickly mobilized and worked in investigations for three days — capturing evidence, motivating police, making plans.

Sweet Diya, our thoughts are with you today. I know your parents probably haven’t even gotten to talk with you yet, but you are not forgotten. There is an army of Westerners who are breathing a sigh of relief for you, who are celebrating your freedom, who are rooting for your reunion with your family, who are praying for your healing and restoration. You deserved better, Diya. You always have. And you’re worth so infinitely much more than the price they sold you for.And on March 20, Diya’s story took another surprising turn. The doors were breached, uniformed officers rushed in. Your social worker would have been right there, whispering into Diya’s ear, explaining what was happening. The rescue mission with police was a success.

Diya and two other women were freed that night; four traffickers were arrested and now face weighty charges of human trafficking. Freedom and justice. Maybe sit in that reality a minute, too.

“Snatching them from the fire” is how our Country Director Sudir described RESCUE to us earlier this month. Sudir has been at this work for more than a decade, and he knows how much damage the flames can do.

Snatched from the fire — it’s a chapter in Diya’s story now.

A chapter that you helped write.

-Reflecting on Rescue: personal thoughts on last week’s rescue from Laura Parker, Co-founder of The Exodus Road

***

Sweet Diya, our thoughts are with you today. I know your parents probably haven’t even gotten to talk with you yet, but you are not forgotten. There is an army of Westerners who are breathing a sigh of relief for you, who are celebrating your freedom, who are rooting for your reunion with your family, who are praying for your healing and restoration. You deserved better, Diya. You always have. And you’re worth so infinitely much more than the price they sold you for.

We’re hoping love wraps you up and holds you tight as you wait for the next page to turn.

***

If you were moved by Diya’s story and would like to join this work, now’s the time. We need 30 more monthly donors to fuel one night of investigations for BRAVO Team monthly at $35/month. As a community, we could cover the investigative expenses for one additional operative for an entire month with 30 new partners. Would you join BRAVO Team today?

 

 

Collaboration and Technology Key in Rescue of Rohingyas

Collaboration and Technology Key in Rescue of Rohingyas

When The Exodus Road secured a grant of cyberforensics technology from a local security firm in Colorado Springs, MainNerve, LLC, in April 2014, our vision was for it to be used to gather key evidence against larger crime syndicates involved in human trafficking. One year later, that equipment did just that.

The Thai Royal Police arrested a kingpin of a major human smuggling and trafficking ring involving the Rohingya people group last week. As evidence has been gathered, the horrific details of the crime syndicate have come to light.

The Rohingyas, a stateless people who are displaced and extremely vulnerable in the region, were being smuggled into Southern Thailand typically on boats and then being held in off-the-grid jungle camps. In these camps, traffickers would either ransom individuals or sell them into labor slavery in Malaysia. Those trapped at the jungle camps experienced deplorable conditions, including abuse. Mass graves were also maintained at the camps, some with nearly 30 bodies.

While the local police had evidence against lower-level traffickers in the operation, they lacked the evidence sufficient to convict the leaders of the crime ring. Thankfully, police began working with our partners at Freeland, who then turned to us for help. Utilizing the cyberforensics gear we provided, The Exodus Road was able to fund the analysis of the data gathered from cell phones of the traffickers in custody. This data proved critical to the location and arrest of Anwar, the kingpin of the entire trafficking ring. You can read about his arrest here. You can also read our partner Freeland’s press release on the case, including our involvement.

While this case is still ongoing, we are thrilled to have played a supporting role in it. In many ways, the Rohingya case emphasizes the critical and positive role that the NGO community can play in supporting national authorities to gain access to key technology and resources, making the busting of larger level crime syndicates possible.

You can read more about the Rohingya case here–

The Exodus Road: Press Release of Cyberforensics Gear

Freeland: Press Release of Rohingya Case 

NY Times: Thailand Arrests Four

Bangkok PostSecurity increased for Rohingya trafficking witnesses

Reuters: Arrest of Anwar

ABC: Rohingya’s Current Situation 

BBC NewsThailand graves: Two skeletons found at camps in Phang Nga

ReutersSpecial Report: Inside Thailand’s trafficking Crackdown

Four Corners (45 minute Video News Story) : Journey into Hell

Photo Cred: BBC, Reuters, ABC

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