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452 || Teen Rescued From Human Traffickers

Ye, a 16-year-old boy in Myanmar, has been through more in his short years than any child should ever have to endure. For three weeks, he had been held as a slave at a massage parlor—a loose term to describe the horrors going on behind closed doors—and he wasn’t the only young man there.

It wasn’t until police raided the business that Ye was liberated. Officials, both from Myanmar and the United States-based nonprofit, Exodus Road, had been gathering intel for nine months, looking for enough cause to execute the search. After his rescue, Ye was taken to a safe home for boys to recover.

Both the parlor’s owner and manager were arrested. In Myanmar, one count of human trafficking carries a prison sentence up to 20 years.

Human trafficking is a growing problem for Southeast Asia. In India, Adam McNutt with Set Them Free International, saw babies as young as two weeks old being sold into sex slavery. Adam said part of the blame can be placed on the Hindu belief in reincarnation.

“They believe they did something so wrong, so grievous, that this is their karma,” Adam explained.

The U.S. State Department notes that Myanmar is a hub for human trafficking because of the large number of persons displaced by conflict. Another contributing factor—corrupt officials who accept bribes in exchange for looking the other way. While most of the trafficking forces victims into labor or indebtedness, a small yet disturbing number of children are forced into sex trafficking for tourists.

Ye’s situation before his capture is unclear, but Adam said there are three main ways children end up as victims of human trafficking: They are kidnapped, sold by their families or found as orphans on the street.

While the horrors behind human trafficking seem like too much to bear, there are numerous groups—both in the United States and abroad—working to end slavery worldwide. If you’re looking for ways to get involved, check out Exodus Road or Set Them Free International. The U.S. Department of State also lists 15 ways you can help end human trafficking. 

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