JOPLIN, Mo. — There’s already a organization in the Four States that cares for girls and women who are victims of the human trafficking. But men go through the same thing.
Providing help for male victims of human trafficking is the purpose behind Joplin based ministry Black Box International. Ben Hedger is the Vice President of U.S.A. operations for the not for profit organization which formed in 2010. Black Box estimates there are 400,000 male victims around the world.
Ben Hedger, V.P. of U.S.A. Operations, Black Box International, said, “Boys, underage boys were being trafficked, exploited sexually, similar to that knowledge that girls were and some people were taking action to providing rescue and restoration for girls and so Black Box wanted to step in and begin to do that and provide that care for boys.”
Hedger says the average age that male victims enter their facility is just 12 years old.
“We did research and that guided us to start our work in the Dominican Republic, and so we’ve had a home there for about 8 years and working with boys providing residential holistic after care, and so that’s our current facility and we are working to establish that same type of work in Haiti.”
Victims can stay in the care of Black Box learning a trade or an education, if necessary until they reach 18. That’s when they transition into living on their own.
So why the name Black Box?
“Cause we often say that behind the black box that might be on the face of a person rescued out of exploitation or trafficking they’re trying to protect their identity, well behind that box is a story and the story must change.”
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