Human Trafficking

Raising Awareness about Human Trafficking – Despertando Conciencia sobre la Trata de Personas

January is human trafficking awareness month. You may hear about this issue on the news, or imagine that is only happens in far away places. The truth is it happens everywhere…in El Salvador, in the U.S., and in every country on earth. There are many people who want to get involved, to make a difference, to bring change to their communities. Did you know that there is a big connection between homelessness and human trafficking? Between childhood trauma, addiction, and human trafficking? There are so many other issues surrounding the big problem of human trafficking. If you are interested in learning more, I want to recommend a great resource. It’s the Ending Human Trafficking podcast with Dr. Sandra Morgan from the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University. Interested in […]

Peace – Paz

As we find ourselves in the midst of the Advent season, we are so grateful for the peace that the Christmas season brings. Valerie Nikkel is our guest blogger this week as we focus on true peace.  If you had an unlimited amount of money how would you spend it? I’m sure all of us have pondered this question at some point in our lives. The song, “If I Had a Million Dollars” lists the many possibilities. If we are honest with ourselves, material things would top our lists. A car, a boat, a house (and then a bigger house), exotic vacations, and the list goes on! Recently that question was asked to one of the woman in our Free The Girls micro-enterprise program. Her answer might surprise you…it surely […]

Soul-Tending – Cuidando el Alma

I remember in my childhood, my mother always had a garden. We always joked about her “green children” because of the time she spent bent over that garden. She would kneel down and gently tend the young plants, work to create an environment for growth, and do everything she could to protect those tender greens from outside predators who would seek to consume them. Tending a soul is not so different. There is kneeling, and toiling. There is a gentle pushing away of dirt, and fierce war against outside forces that would move in to destroy. There are fledging greens that push up through the soil, and we celebrate them and work to make their environment all that it possibly can be so that those sprouts can one day be […]

Budgeting for the Future – Presupestando para el Futuro

What do survivors of trafficking need to be truly free? There are so many answers to that question, but without a doubt practical support is one of them. We talk about holistic care for survivors and that means that we address the spiritual and emotional pain that they are facing, but it also means that we are cheering them on in the everyday physical aspects of their lives. Last week, that looked like making budgets with all of the ladies in our Free The Girls program who are selling bras, and running their own small businesses. For many of them, they have money to manage for the first time in their lives. While they were being exploited, they didn’t get paid fair wages, and many of them have struggled to scrape by in […]

Being a Woman in El Salvador, Part 3 – Ser una Mujer en El Salvador, Parte 3

“Violence is an obstacle that prevents women from developing their own initiatives, and economic activities.”                       -Ana Elena Badilla, UN Women representative In El Salvador, violence is a significant risk factor for women and a very real obstacle to their personal and economic development. The gangs which control so much of the country, plus the deeply entrenched machismo, create an environment where women are not safe in their own neighborhoods. Gang control is so pervasive in neighborhoods around El Salvador, that many girls are forced into sexual slavery as girlfriends of local gang leaders. The girls have no choice in the matter…they must join the gang or be killed. The problem has become so grave that young girls are fleeing El Salvador, and […]

Blog Series: Being a Woman in El Salvador, Part 1 – Ser una Mujer en El Salvador, Parte 1

A few months ago I read a story that has haunted me ever since. A 13 year old girl walked from her house to the local tienda to buy paper to finish her homework. On the way she was murdered for her cell phone. Sadly, her story is not an isolated incident. Too often my stomach turns as I read another story of violence against women in the news, hear of another femicide, or talk with one of our female clients about her life. El Salvador is such a beautiful country with such beautiful and strong women, but statistics show us that those women are at risk. Latin America as a region has high rates of femicide, sexual abuse, and exploitation against women. El Salvador has consistently been one of the region’s […]

Christmas Update / Navidad en MTES

We had a joyful Christmas with all of our clients this year! So many of those we serve don’t have any family to celebrate the holidays with so it means so much to them to be part of our celebrations at MTES!                 We were able to throw two parties for the survivors that we serve! These girls and women have been through so much hurt and pain in their young lives, so we love to give them a chance to smile! This year we threw a party and gave gifts to 7 child trafficking survivors in addition to having a Christmas party for all the women in Free The Girls, and their children! There was such a beautiful moment at this party […]

Human Trafficking Awareness / Concientización de la Trata Humana

Did you know that in the United States, January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and today, January 11th, is Human Trafficking Awareness Day? In our world today, it is estimated that 30 million men, women, and children are victims of human trafficking…modern-day slavery. Human trafficking happens through the use of force, fraud, or coercion to make someone do some type of labor or commercial sex act. Human trafficking happens all around our world every day. In El Salvador, we are working to fight this horrible evil through support services for underage survivors of trafficking, and through transitional services for adult survivors. Women and girls living in poverty, in gang-controlled communities, or trying to get to the United States are at a high risk of being trafficked. Our hearts break for […]

MTES In The News / MTES en las Noticias

In case you missed it, Mission To El Salvador was featured in a segment on The CNN Freedom Project! One of our partnerships is with the organization Free The Girls, and together we work to provide jobs for women who are survivors of human trafficking. We are humbled and honored that The CNN Freedom Project chose to highlight the work happening here in El Salvador. It is so encouraging to see such a beautiful story about El Salvador! You can few the link in English here, and in Spanish here.   En caso que se lo haya perdido, Mission to El Salvador apareció en el segmento El Proyecto Libertad de CNN. MTES se ha asociado con la organización “Free the Girls” y juntos nos esforzamos para proveer una fuente de […]

Meditations on the Advent Season…Hope / Meditaciones de la época Navideña…Esperanza

We live in tension. Tension between the first coming of Christ, and His return. Tension in a world that hopes for things to be made right, but that still sees how glaringly things have gone wrong. We live and struggle in this place. As we enter the Advent season, that struggle and longing becomes something that we meditate on, and in this first week of the Advent season we center our thoughts around hope. Hope that the promises He has made to us will come true. Hope that there are better days ahead. Hope that in the end He wins and not our painful circumstances. This season, I am learning much about hope from several brave women. The women that work in our Free The Girls microenterprise have made choices […]