I find answering loaded questions that come in through social media is one of my favorite things to do. So I thought instead of our answers ending up buried in a reply thread, I’d share them with you – in case you have similar questions. Here’s one that came about our holiday cards:
Q: Does the money go to all the girls at the Round Home?
The survivors who make these cards receive direct income through their production. And survivors served by our care in the Philippines do have access to income-generating opportunities, of which this is one.
The need for some source of income (aka poverty) generates probably the greatest and most common vulnerability in children we’ve worked with – so to put it plainly, we in anti-trafficking work must compete with traffickers to meet that need.
To explain further, situations of child trafficking are very rarely as cut and dry as what we commonly understand as slavery (forced work with no pay). They’re complex, and often one complexity is that children are pimped for family income. This coercive income can be part of the equation for modern-day chains. When a is child performing sex acts for money, even if they do see some income, they’re still being exploited.
With that said, when survivors come into our programs in the Philippines, it’s not uncommon that they come in with family pressures to continue producing income. Cultural context and shame makes it an acute need that often must be addressed so that the child can focus better on recovery.
Towards their long-term recovery, survivors in our Round Home for girls and White Home for boys receive education at their grade level. They also have the opportunity to explore their dreams, enroll in job training and certification programs, and attend college. In the short term, Love146 addresses the immediate need for income through a variety of means. Children help with house functions and maintenance for income. At our Round Home, there is a garden on the property in which they grow produce to sell at the market. There is a hut in the back of the property that the children grow mushrooms in to either use for cooking or sell. And there are opportunities like these cards.
Through these means, Love146 allows children a transitional source of income. These opportunities are available for all the children who are old enough and willing to work, and they occasionally are offered to survivors who’ve grown, moved on from our direct care back into communities, and are in need of supplemental income.
Children have gone on from our direct care to work in pizza restaurants, department stores, hair salons, small business management, schools, caregiving facilities, and a variety of other venues. While we are diligent in our long-term follow up, journeying with the girls and boys who come through our care for the ongoing years and into adulthood, our goal is community reintegration, not dependence on our direct services… which would include these livelihood services.
We’re always looking for additional means of transitional income, and long-term livelihood solutions for the survivors we partner with as they journey towards recovery – and we’re excited to say that these cards fly off our shelves! We’re excited to place more orders from our programs in the Philippines that will provide income to empower these survivors and their families towards futures of freedom.