We’re had our favorite TV shows interrupted, we’ve gotten the incessant texts, and we’ve heard it on the radio: the Amber Alert that tells us that a child is missing, and usually that foul play is involved. But in some parts of Asia, missing children are a part of life. They are forced into child labor, they are used in the sex industry, and they are missing from the streets where they sit day after day begging, hoping for at least enough coins or bread so that they don’t have to go to bed hungry—again.
Worldwide 150 million children (about half the population of the United States) are estimated to be involved in Child Labor. In Asia and the Pacific, that amounts to 1in 10 children between the ages of 5 and 17.
And once again we have to deal with the fact that so many children are losing hope, rape for profit, and long hours in the sweat shop: the pain never seems to go away. And because these missing children incur expenses, they never seem to be able to escape the growing debt. They are fed, sheltered, transported to the work site, clothed, and the costs, highly inflated, means they have to work even longer hours, entertain more men, to pay back the ‘loans’.
But there is hope. Gospel for Asia, and many other agencies are working to halt this exploitation. They are working to stop the trafficking. They are working to provide safe environments for abused children to learn to escape the horrors of their pasts and to move on, through education, therapy and the love of Christ, to a better life.
The problem seems overwhelming, but there are ways to help. It starts with you, it starts with prayer, and it starts with your contributions. You can help save a child.