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  • Writer's pictureMargo Rees

A safe house

Building a safe space for survivors of human trafficking and exploitation to heal, grow, and realize their potential.

As we prepare to enter the first phases of construction for Lydia House, I am reminded of why we felt so much urgency to get started. We are building in Bong County, Liberia; which is where our Liberian partners are originally from. It is about 2 hours drive from the capital city of Monrovia, in a beautiful rural area, with a small urbanized center known as Gbarnga.

Bong County is the seat of one of the largest child trafficking scams ever known in Liberia, in addition to being affected by severe poverty and a shortage of secondary schools. Many parents in this area have to choose between paying school fees or buying food. If their children are older than 12, they would have to travel to a neighboring town to even have a school to attend. Child traffickers who targeted this area would visit the poorest homes, where they knew families could not afford to pay the nominal fees required for books and uniforms to send their children to public school. They would tell parents they were recruiting children to attend a charity-run school, and then they would offer their children a place with room and board at this “school.” The parents would willingly send their children with the traffickers, and never see them again.

When I visited in October of last year, one government worker told me that 90% of the child trafficking victims she picked up in the capital city of Monrovia had been taken from Bong County. “If you build this home,” she told me, “I will finally have somewhere to send these girls other than back into the streets.”

I pray each day for children and young women who are experiencing this oppression right now, while we do not yet have a building to offer them safety and healing in. But I thank God for the hope I have that we will soon be able to open our doors to them, and watch them grow into their full potential as women and leaders.

To help us open our doors, please consider making a donation toward the completion of Lydia House in Bong County.

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