This Friday, October 11, is International Day of the Girl – a day where we recognize girls as being unstoppable.
Join Melinda Estabrooks, Ambassador for International Justice Mission’s Voices with the Girls campaign, in lending your voice and platform to #herstory that day.
Her story? Stories like Joy’s story.
Joy was just 10 years old when she was trapped as a cybersex slave by a woman she trusted.
Every night for years she prayed to be reunited with her family and to finish her education.
Seven long years after Joy was first exploited, IJM learned of her abuse and partnered with police in the Philippines to rescue her and arrest the woman she called her “Boss.”
By the time Joy arrived at the aftercare shelter with the other children who were being abused, she was 17 years old. IJM social workers met her, explaining that she would now live free from abuse and exploitation.
Even though Joy was safe from the reach of her “Boss,” and even though she was no longer being exploited online, she still had a long road of healing and counseling ahead of her.
As she grew accustomed to living in a shelter with people who cared for her physical and emotional needs, the dreams of finishing school came back.
Today, she is in school and inspiring other survivors to pursue their dreams. In the summer of 2018, she interned at a government shelter, mentoring children and young adults who have experienced similar abuses.
“I am inspired by the social workers who don’t stop helping survivors like me. I too have a passion to help survivors see that there is hope after rescue, and that there are people who can help us if we let them.”
Her brave spirit is taking her places she never imagined she would go. After speaking at an event in the United Kingdom, she closed with these words:
“We need you. Help us be encouraged, show us that we are important and that we can have freedom to live our dreams.
I am standing before you today, sharing my story, because I believe children are the future. I want every bad “Boss” to stop abusing children. Slavery is happening all around the world. I want it to stop. I believe it can stop, but I cannot do it alone.”
Joy’s voice is strong and clear. Amplify it so that others can hear her, and can join IJM in ending slavery in our lifetime!
Suggested call-out: “I am standing before you today, sharing my story, because I believe children are the future. I want every bad “Boss” to stop abusing children. Slavery is happening all around the world. I want it to stop. I believe it can stop, but I cannot do it alone.”