Aftercare reflections from Manila

Avalon Wood

Avalon Wood is an Aftercare Intern at IJM Manila. Read her reflections on working with child survivors of cybersex trafficking.

Children are so innocent, yet exceptionally creative and willing to learn about the world around them. There is an excitement and curious spirit every child possesses towards life that gives me such joy when engaging with them.

Working for IJM has been a heart’s desire of mine and it has been such a blessing to serve in the Manila office. IJM Manila focuses on ending cybersex trafficking and assists the restoration of individuals who have been victims of this crime.

Victims of cybersex trafficking in the Philippines are often forced to perform sex acts in front of a camera—sometimes in a live-stream video—for paying customers who in many cases reside on the other side of the world.

My role in rescue operations is to assist in providing trauma crisis intervention to the survivors we rescue. This is achieved through meeting the child’s basic needs—ie. food, water and medical attention. Creating a sense of safety and wellbeing in an environment that is so confusing to the child is my primary focus. This can be difficult at times as all a child seeks is to be with their primary caregiver, but in many cases the primary caregiver is the perpetrator of the abuse.

In the midst of confusion, uncertainty and darkness is a beautiful journey of hope and restoration awaiting every child we rescue. Each child and survivor that I meet is the opportunity to embrace, love and provide hope.

Ending human trafficking and creating a safe world for all children to be free is what my heart burns and beats for. No child deserves their freedom taken, their innocence stolen, and their dignity robbed.

Let us keep fighting until all are free.

Avalon Wood is from Brisbane and currently serves as an Aftercare Intern at IJM Manila.

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