Gleaning For The World Aims to Fight Sex Trafficking in Post Typhoon Philippines
Concord, VA - A warning on the heels of the terribly typhoon ravaging the Philippines, about the hidden tragedy that follows so many natural disasters. Some of the smallest victims often times are sold into a fate you can't even imagine.
There's always a sense of urgency to get supplies to where they need to be following any natural disaster. But in countries, like the Philippines, there's an added sense of urgency, because after something like this a lot of children will be sold into sex slavery.
But one local organization is on the front lines trying to save those kids.
Gusts of 230 miles an hour have forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes in the Philippines. Gleaning for the World will be one of the first organizations to send supplies.
"The first time I heard about it, we were working in Sri Lanka" said Reverend Ron Davidson, President of Gleaning for the World.
Davidson said he saw something ten years ago, on his first disaster relief trip that stopped him dead in his tracks.
"They will try to talk you into selling your oldest child so that you'll have enough money to feed the other four" he said.
Davidson said child sex traffickers are the first feet on the ground in many countries following a major disaster, exploiting those families left homeless, without food, or water.
"If they don't have these things, they've got to make that choice; of either selling their child or letting all of them die. That's not a decision I think any parent should ever have to make" he said.
One remedy though, is getting supplies on the ground immediately and filling that need, before the traffickers. Gleaning tries to do just that knowing that time, is precious.
"We work as rapidly as we can to get the supplies on the ground for them" said Davidson.
In his years of relief work, both domestic and international, Davidson says he's never seen sex trafficking as a problem here, in the U.S.
"We see this as something that happens in other countries, it doesn't happen here, when really, it does" said Tony Giorno.
Giorno is a United States Attorney and a Human Trafficking Coordinator. He says state-side, this problem is growing.
A new task force set up in Roanoke, he says aims to help local law enforcement slow its surge.
"Human trafficking is often called the crime within the crime, because it's not readily apparent from when you first see a particular situation" said Giorno.
Davidson says Gleaning will have supplies on the ground in the Philippines as early as Tuesday of next week. Inevitably though he says even then, with such a rapid response, for some children, it may be too late.