Today, a 16-year-old boy from Myanmar is free. After being exploited for sex in a male massage parlor in Southeast Asia for 20 days, Ye* was rescued. Based on evidence gathered by The Exodus Road’s investigators, local police rescued Ye and arrested two traffickers in Operation EDEN.
Our team in Southeast Asia and our deployed operatives had worked tirelessly on the case for nine months, gathering evidence and then supporting police to execute the raid.
One of our American investigators, who had worked on this case during a deployment, said that this massage parlor was the case that weighed heaviest on him. But he was glad to make that sacrifice for Ye’s freedom.
“The innocence I lost on this trip and the trauma that will stick with me is such a small price to pay compared to what these victims experience regularly,” he said after returning home from the deployment. “I truly believe that if everyone could see what we dare to see, that it would begin to change our culture.”
The raid resulted in the arrests of the owner and manager, successfully shutting down the establishment. Police translated Ye’s Burmese ID to confirm his age and charged the two offenders with trafficking of a minor. The sentence for one count of human trafficking in this region can range from four to 20 years.
Multiple young men were being exploited at the massage parlor, but only Ye could be classified as a victim of human trafficking because he is under 18. The police are interviewing previous employees to continue building the case against the traffickers.Today, Ye is recovering in a government safe home for boys. The Exodus Road will follow up with Ye as he transitions into freedom.
*Ye is a representative name that means “brave” in Burmese. Names are changed for survivors’ safety.