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Anti-Trafficking Real Stories from the Field

Breaking: Boy Caught in Child Labor Exploitation—Home Safe

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By The Love Justice Team on April 4, 2024
Boy carrying water

Last month, our teams around the world intercepted 1,400 people to help keep them safe from human trafficking! Read on for some real interception stories reported by our global staff.

MALAWI: Boy Caught in Child Labor Trafficking Intercepted and Returned Home

Luka*, a 14-year-old boy, moved from his rural hometown to the city in November 2023 to work with his friend. They were working for the same boss, selling water on the streets. Their employer was mistreating them—not giving them any money for lunch or paying them enough, claiming “business was not going well.” 

After a month of work, Luka’s friend left, saying he wanted to visit his parents at home. He never returned, leaving Luka alone. Our monitors recently noticed Luka selling water in town and recognized the signs of child labor exploitation. Based on his young appearance, they knew he should not be working as a street vendor and approached him for questioning. After hearing his story, they intercepted him, provided him with counseling, and helped him return home. 

SIERRA LEONE: Teen Girl Lured by False Promise to Locate Family; Intercepted!

Sierra Leone girl in car

Our team intercepted a 16-year-old girl at the border, traveling in a vehicle with an unknown woman she had only recently met. The woman had convinced the vulnerable teen to follow her to Guinea, falsely promising she would help the girl find her long-lost family. 

The young girl explained that she had never known her family. In 2019, a reverend had found her on the streets and taken her into his home to offer her care and education.  

Our team immediately recognized the high risk of exploitation due to her inability to speak the language in Guinea and her journey with someone she barely knew. Moreover, she was traveling without a phone and had not informed anyone of her plans, increasing her vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation. They intercepted her to keep her safe, preventing a potential child trafficking incident.

The young girl is currently staying with one of our monitors who is acting as a foster parent until appropriate next steps can be determined. The case is under police investigation, and the suspected trafficker is still on the run.

SOUTH ASIA: 18-Year-Old Girl Lured with False Job Offer, then Abandoned; Now Safe!

Girl sitting on bench alone

Our team noticed a girl who was sitting alone and seemed hesitant and afraid. She appeared to be waiting for someone, so our monitors went up to her to introduce themselves. 

She said her name was Rubi* and she was 18 years old. She shared that her family was very poor. Since her father’s death two years ago, her mother had been struggling to make ends meet, doing whatever domestic work she could find. 

Rubi told our team that she had recently met a boy on her phone through a misdialed call. They became friends who occasionally contacted one another. When the boy heard about her difficult home situation, he offered her a job working in a garment shop in the city, earning a salary higher than usual for that type of position.

Rubi agreed to go even though she didn’t have any specific information about the job, including an address for her future place of employment. She ran away from her home without telling her family about her plans. 

When she met up with the boy, he asked her to stay with him in a hotel for a night. She refused, and he told her he would not give her the job. He then threatened her and abandoned her at the transit station. 

After hearing Rubi’s story, our team called the boy, but he hung up his phone. Our staff then contacted Rubi’s mother and told her everything that had happened. The mother thanked our monitors for helping and asked them to arrange her daughter’s transportation home. Our team fed the girl, bought her a ticket, and then sent her back home by boat. 

ETHIOPIA: Team Intercepts 16-Year-Old Girl Being Recruited for Domestic Work in Dubai

girl signing papers pexels

Our team recently intercepted 16-year-old Semira*. A suspected trafficker had convinced her to travel to Dubai for domestic work without her family’s consent. Lured with the promise of a high salary, Semira was adamant about going abroad, and her parents were unable to persuade her to stay home. They were afraid she would run away if they tried to stop her from traveling, so they continued to finance the process even though they were extremely worried about it.  

While talking to our team, Semira shared that her recruiter (the suspected trafficker) was pressuring her to speed up the foreign employment process. Our monitors cautioned her that she was at high risk of being exploited. They explained that traffickers often deceive young students into traveling abroad with promises of high salaries and a better life, but then end up exploiting them. They educated Semira and her parents about human trafficking and legitimate versus illegitimate ways to procure foreign employment. Semira’s parents thanked our staff for intervening to protect their daughter, and Semira chose to return home. 

NAMIBIA: Vulnerable Teen Intercepted from Illegal and Hazardous Work Environment

Namibian 16-year-old boy

A 16-year-old boy from an informal settlement was planning to find work in a shipping port area. Our staff intercepted him because it is illegal for minors to work in the port due to the hazardous environment. Adding to the complexity of the situation, the boy was found under the influence of alcohol, significantly increasing his vulnerability to exploitation. 

During questioning, he told our team that he lived alone and needed to find work to provide for himself. At first, he was adamant about working in the port, but when our monitors educated him on human trafficking and explained how he might fall victim to it, he seemed to understand the risks. They also warned him that as an intoxicated minor, he could easily be taken advantage of by his employers who might force him to work in unfavorable conditions or coerce him into performing various jobs for minimal pay.

As it was getting dark and it would be dangerous for him to walk home alone in his condition, our staff arranged his transportation. They paid his taxi fare and shared the gospel with him before he left.

UGANDA: Team Uncovers Contradictions and Intercepts 17-Year-Old Girl Traveling for Work

three women filling out forms on computers for an interception

A recruiter enticed Justine*, a 17-year-old girl, to accept a job offer as a domestic worker with a promised pay almost triple the standard rate. An unusually high salary is often a sign of labor exploitation as suspected traffickers will promise high salaries to lure people into accepting non-existing jobs, leading to potential exploitation and trafficking. 

During the interview with our monitors, Justine and her recruiter gave contradictory statements. Justine confirmed that she was being recruited for a job. However, her recruiter pretended to be escorting her to buy books, while the transporter told our team that Justine was going to a funeral in Kenya. These discrepancies raised immediate red flags for our team, prompting them to intercept Justine as they believed she was at high risk of being trafficked. 

When our monitors contacted Justine’s alleged host to confirm the job offer, he denied promising to give anyone work. The suspects were arrested and handed over to the police, and a case of human trafficking in persons was later filed against them. Our staff educated Justine about the dangers of human trafficking and then helped her return home.

Each of these stories was made possible by generous donors. All expenses included, it only costs us about $200 to intercept each person. Will you consider donating at the link below to be a part of someone's freedom story?



*All data and statistics current at the date and time of publishing. Specific names and locations excluded for privacy and security purposes. Images are representative and do not picture actual victims. Some images made using AI.


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