We wish all our stories were success stories. But today, we are asking for prayer for two special children.
Grady is a precious little boy Operation Underground Railroad continues to search for after he was kidnapped from church and then trafficked.
Gardy’s dad has worked tirelessly to rescue other children since his son went missing. Through this work, he has found hope. I can not even begin to fathom the heart of one who goes through the pain of losing their own son and can still rejoice over the others that have been found.
There is a beautiful 13 year old girl, who we will call Sara. We have worked with Sara for about a year. We first met her in an area that O.U.R. started prevention work after identifying it as a high risk area for trafficking. One of the prevention tactics is providing a teacher for two days a week and supporting children who want to attend school.
Sadly, a couple of months ago we were told that Sara was missing. There are rumors that she has been trafficked and the trafficker had intentionally got her pregnant in order to fear and shame her into not returning to the village.
Our operations team has notified the human trafficking division in the country and they are actively searching for Sara. We do everything we can to fight for children to live in freedom and this 13-year-old is very close to our heart.
We recently followed up with local law enforcement, but they still have not yet located her. They asked that if we find any additional information to notify them immediately. Our team has done in-home visits to her parents home and neither of them had any additional information for us to provide for the law enforcement.
However, due to Operation Underground Railroad’s educational support we do know where Sara goes to school. Recently three members of the our team went to Sara’s school. With the leadership of the school, we went from classroom to classroom searching for Sara.
It’s often said it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack once a child goes missing, but we can never let statistics stop us. Sara came within the path of Operation Underground Railroad and we truly believe that once someone has come into our path they are family. We will search as if they were our child, sister, daughter, or friend.
The school reported they have not seen her in two weeks, but they thought it was because of the severe rain. Sadly, we have not been able to find her yet.
However, we were able to talk to several of the staff about trafficking and the extreme vulnerability that many of the children in this area face. They were unaware of the high risk areas and the signs to look for in case a child is being trafficked. The school is now putting extra measures in place to help keep their children safe, and they were able to open an additional case with child protective services for Sara.
Not every story is perfect, and the fight against trafficking is not an easy battle. However, during this time that we are still looking for Sara, she has already had an impact on other children’s lives.
We love Sara, we know her well, and we ask that you would keep her in your hearts during this new year. Thank you for helping us continue to search for Sara and bring her to a safe aftercare home. Thank you for all you do to support girls and boys like Sara through rescues and aftercare. Many blessings to you and your family as you stand with us.
Jessica Mass, Director of Aftercare, Operation Underground Railroad.