Sex Tourists preying on the very young….
Nat is a spunky 11-year-old boy who was first sold for sex when he was five years old, along with his four-year-old brother Pat. This journey started for HPC when Nat and Pat were five and four and a stranger, a foreign man who looked like a tourist, showed up at our Kids Club. We asked who the man was, and the little boys said, “Oh! He’s our friend! He takes us for walks on the riverside and buys us ice cream.” We immediately contacted our investigative partners and opened a case on the boys. While we were waiting for the investigative team to move on the case, the boys began telling us, “Now he takes us for ice cream!” They were very excited about their foreign friend.
A few weeks later, we knew the tide had turned for the worse during one of our Kids Clubs. Our staff was telling the story of Adam and Eve using a children’s storybook. In the book, there is a picture of Adam standing behind some bushes holding a staff in his hand. When Nat saw this picture, he completely freaked out. He ran across the pavilion where we do Kids Club, curled himself into a ball, and cried and cried. It took thirty minutes for our staff to find out why Nat was so traumatized. He said, “When I go with the foreign man, he doesn’t wear clothes, just like the man in the book isn’t wearing clothes. And when I don’t do what the foreign man wants me to do, he hits me with a stick, just like the man in the book has a stick.”
We knew then that the man had gone from grooming the children to abusing them. It took months for the local authorities to get behind the case of two little street boys, but twenty-two-months later, the boys and their sister were finally brought to a safe place. Their sister, Natalie, had also been sold and was severely traumatized.
When the three siblings got out of the safe houses we helped the government put them in, they wound up back on our doorstep. They come to our programs daily.
Today, we’ve been able to get Natalie, 13, into a permanent safe house where she can stay until she is an adult. Nat, at 11, is working in a local market and no matter what he goes through in life, he comes to our staff for love and restoration. Pat is growing into a healthy 10-year-old and attends our programs regularly. We praise God for the relationships we have with these three children, and know that He is using us tremendously to bring healing to their broken hearts.