“We believe prevention is the most effective antidote to slavery.” These words form the mission statement of Stella’s Voice, an organization dedicated to ending child slavery. Though many great organizations work to help victims of slavery, Stella’s Voice puts their focus on the children that run the risk of being trapped in slavery.
A serious problem that makes slavery all the more likely is the fact that young orphan girls can be turned out and into the streets for being too old to stay at an orphanage. Many of these young women become victims of human trafficking because they are left vulnerable without a home or support system. They are often sold into sex slavery and remain there for many years without hope of a better life, even if they were to find freedom.
To try to attack this problem, Stella’s Voice created Stella’s House, a home for girls who have become too old for state-run facilities. Stella’s Voice focuses on these girls, as they are prime targets for sex traffickers due to their vulnerable situations.
The vision of this organization began at the fall of communism. At this time, the media was allowed into Eastern Europe and found the dire conditions that were present in state-run orphanages. Because of this realization, Stella’s Voice started to bring aid to these homes in hopes of improving their situations.
At one stop in Moldova, the director of the home asked, “Have you ever seen a baby freeze to death?” This question came as a shock, but the fact was that by mid-December, 16 children had frozen to death in their beds. A goal of Stella’s Voice soon became that no child would ever freeze in that home again.
Another story shaped the direction of Stella’s Voice, actually giving the organization its name. A young girl, Stella, was left out on the streets when she became too old to live in an orphanage. As a result of this, Stella was exploited by human traffickers, sold, and soon died from AIDS at the young age of 19.
Stella’s House was created to help young girls like Stella to stay safe and away from the exploitation that she had faced. While living at Stella’s House, young girls have the opportunity to complete their education, learn essential life skills, and grow in a healthy and caring environment.
The goal of this environment is to change the girls’ mindset from “I am just an orphan” to “I am worthy of being loved.” This is an important lesson of self-worth, which will allow each girl in Stella’s House to realize what she can bring to the world through her skills and talents. It is the hope of Stella’s Voice that instead of becoming part of the terrible statistic of child trafficking, these girls can be loved and given the chance of true success in their lives.
Stella’s Voice presents a harrowing statistic on its website: “In the next 30 seconds, a child will be sold into sex slavery. Will you take 30 second to save her?” If the work of Stella’s Voice inspires you, take the time to check out their website and find out ways to get involved. Those seconds of your time will be well worth it.
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