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Joy’s Story: From found to free


As a young girl, Joy grew up moving from home to home. She was passed among various family members like, in her words, a “stray dog”.

At just 10 years old, Joy recalls a known and trusted adult she referred to as ‘Boss’ calling her and several friends to come inside her house. This woman then instructed them to remove their clothes so she could take pictures of them. Joy describes this moment by saying, “I was so scared, nervous and confused. I didn’t know what to do.”

This was just the beginning of years of increasingly brutal sexual abuse.

But we were looking for Joy.

IJM’s team in Cebu was working with Philippine law enforcement to find her. Police rescued Joy along with 16 other victims and arrested ‘Boss’.

When we found Joy, she was scared and unsure of what was happening to her. IJM’s social workers were there on the day of rescue and explained that she was free from abuse at the hands of her boss.

But after years of brutal abuse, true freedom required more than her physical safety.

Support restoration

Unfortunately, there are more children needing care than there are social workers. In some council areas, there is only one government assigned social worker for every 10,000 people.

IJM steps in to ensure these gaps are filled. We were there because of financial support from people like you.

  • We were there at Joy’s rescue.
  • We were there for immediate crisis care in the critical 36-hour window that followed.
  • We were there crafting intervention strategies.
  • We were there scouring the country for suitable housing for Joy.
  • We were there to arrange proper education and training.
  • We were there to provide trauma-informed counselling and care.
  • We were there when Joy testified in court against her trafficker.

This is what freedom looks like.

“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.”

Joy’s experience of restoration led her to mentor children and young adults who have survived similar abuse. Today, she is using her freedom for the restoration of others, including travelling to Europe and Africa to share her story and advocate for an end to online sexual exploitation of children.

Join Joy in shutting down the livestreamed sexual abuse of children today:

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