The story of little Odom being rescued from a detention center in Malaysia was well viewed on my blog site. In fact, it was the most read blog ever on my site. (see Odom’s story here) I told you the heartwarming story, but not the “rest of the story”. Trafficking of any person is horrible and we love to hear to hear of success stories, but for every success story there are likely thousands of tragedies that we never hear about. We almost don’t want to hear about the bad things that are happening.
At the same time our friends in Malaysia were able to rescue little Odom and bring him back to Cambodia, we were trying to rescue others. Along with Odom was a little girl. We tried to rescue her too, but when they processed the papers to bring her home, she was “missing”. It is likely that she was sold out of the prison. The girls are much more valuable than little boys. My heart sank when I heard the news. Happy to see Odom, but sad about a nameless little Cambodian girl.
A few days after receiving Odom, we heard another tragic story. A young Cambodian girl working as a maid was raped. She escaped her employer, but she did not have documentation. The employers and agencies don’t let them keep their passports so that they can control them. So, if they go to the police, they don’t get help, they get jail time for lack of documentation instead. Upon being raped she tried to find help. But the police found her and jailed her for illegal immigration to Malaysia. She didn’t actually want to be in Malaysia. She didn’t want to be raped. She just wanted to come home to Cambodia. First she was the victim of a horrible violent act, and now that victimization was further compounded by being sent to prison.
Because of the rape, she became pregnant. The child was born in prison. The woman refused to take care of the child because she didn’t want it. She didn’t want to be in Malaysia. She just wanted to go home. She was threatened with hard labor if she didn’t care for the child. A little boy. A boy forever nameless. Eighteen months later, we heard about her case and offered to take the child. Processing of documents began to rescue this little baby boy who has only lived in an immigration detention center and has been rejected since birth.
A victimized girl created another victim. My good friend, Pastor Dave always said, “Hurt people, hurt people.” The young Cambodian girl was hurt. Now an innocent child was being hurt. Another victim. The cycle of pain continues.
We tried to process the child as quickly as possible. However, at the last visit to the detention center we were informed that the child died. All of us were devastated.
Neglect, abuse, exposure. . . we will never know what happened. We have no word on what has happened to the young Cambodian girl. News like that puts a big hole in your heart. It creates a pain that may never leave. Success stories like Odom do a great job of filling the holes, but the pain is still there. It is with success stories like Odom that we want to keep pushing forward to save more.
Actually, no country is free from human trafficking. Slavery is alive and prosperous today. Obviously some countries are worse than others, and some way of trafficking are more obvious than others. Yet, very few people want to get involved. They pain of nameless eighteen month old babies is strong enough to get anyone to quit, but the hope for saving a child like Odom far outweigh the wounds on the heart.
Pray that we can rescue more kids. Pray and ask how you might be involved in rescuing those who are trafficked. They are all around you. They are nameless until you get involved.