Global Child Advocates
All it takes is one advocate in a community, who is equipped to respond to child exploitation. By speaking up, they can protect countless children in their lifetime.
Lil and Tik grew up in Myanmar with their mom and dad. Life was simple but they were happy together – until the day their mom became very ill. When she passed away, everything changed.
Their father turned to alcohol and drugs to cope with his loss and the girls were on their own to grieve. He quickly spiraled downward and beat both the girls whenever he was drunk. Lil got the worst of his rage.
Living in a community of bamboo huts, the neighbors knew, but no one spoke up.
When money ran out, the father left Lil and Tik with his in-laws, to go work in Thailand. He sent money back but the girls never benefited from it. Instead they worked to earn their keep.
One day, their dad returned and brought them to live with his new wife. Lil and Tik loved their new step-mom and she seemed to have changed their dad. They were together and happy again. But then their step-mom also fell sick and soon passed away.
This time, their father’s response was even worse. Instead of any kind of comfort, Lil and Tik were again beaten. And then one day, in a drunken haze, he raped Lil right in front of Tik. She was only 10 years old. This time, he knew the neighbors had heard, so he fled.
Neighbors did know but they didn’t know how to respond to a 10-year-old victim or what to say to an 8-year-old who had witnessed it all. A lady in the community took in both girls but soon after, her husband also tried to rape Lil. Tik stopped him just in time.
The girls were sent away and passed around until one day, God brought them to the home of someone GCA had trained in child protection. We had equipped her to ask the right questions with empathy, how to identify red flags, and safe ways to report trafficking and abuse.
And that’s exactly what she did. When we received the call, we brought Lil and Tik into our Survivor Protection Program so their trauma could stop and healing could begin. Our staff began building relationships of trust, and the girls slowly let down their walls. Tik loves cooking alongside our staff and Lil eventually let go of the tough exterior she arrived with. While both girls got involved in Sojourn Studio and were enrolled in migrant school, our search began for a permanent loving family.
Within our program, they also learned for the first time about the love of God. After some time, both Lil and Tik told their mentors that they had started to pray. Jesus has become very real to Lil and for a girl who has endured so much, the message of unconditional love has been transformative. After being exposed to the simple gospel, Lil shared that she has put her faith in Jesus’ and even asked if she can be baptized.
Lil and Tik’s journey is not over, but their nightmare finally ended the day they met a GCA trained advocate. To date, we’ve equipped 1,536 caregivers and community members in child protection and we’ll continue until every vulnerable child has an advocate.