Rahab’s House Church & Community Center
Rahab’s House Community Center, located in the small village of Svay Pak, is at the center of Cambodia’s child sex-trafficking pandemic. The building is a former brothel. It sat chained and locked for 5 years following a raid by International Justice Mission, which emptied it of its child sex slaves. Since opening our doors in 2008, free food, medical care, dental care and education have rehabilitated the ravaged communities. Our Kids’ Club, Community Church, Medical Center and AIM School area all run out of this building.
On Sunday, Rahab’s House hosts a Christ-centered, Bible-teaching community church. The pastor and staff are all Cambodian nationals and the current adult attendance averages over 300 per week. Through the hope of Christ and His power to transform hearts, the church has directly rescued 16 young girls from sex trafficking in Svay Pak. One relationship led to the rescue of 12 children and 8 adults held as labor slaves in a nearby brick factory. Additionally, several young men have left the sex trafficking industry and one man who owns a large brothel stopped selling underage girls for sex. The church’s presence in the community continues to bring daily transformation to the city of Phnom Penh and the individuals with whom we’re in constant contact.
Cambodia has experienced tremendous growth in its economy over the last 20 years, but it is still near the bottom of the human development index in terms of per capita income. Impoverished families that face a sudden illness, disaster, or shortage of funds can quickly find themselves struggling to provide for their children. A story that we hear time and time again is that some will sell their daughters’ virginity, which in many cases will earn them up to 20 times an average weekly wage. Others may send their daughters to work as “housekeepers” or in “restaurants” where the girls then find themselves being trafficked.
AIM is eliminating some of the motivations for child sex trafficking by providing:
- Humanitarian Aid – Food, mosquito nets, medical and dental care, clothing, blankets, and more
- Community Development – Village wells, ponds, and roads
- Disaster Relief – Home reconstruction and emergency food supplies
Every bag of rice and mosquito net given, every illness treated has the potential to prevent a girl from being sold. Through these services and efforts, AIM is bringing hope to the people and country of Cambodia, hope to today, hope for the future.
Kids’ Club is a daily children’s program run by one of our Cambodian pastors and the young disciples. Each day, local Svay Pak children receive Khmer literacy and English lessons, a life-skills lesson, a Bible story, worship music, an arts and crafts project and a snack. An average of 150 children attend Kids’ Club each afternoon at Rahab’s House, and once a month, the discipleship team takes Kids’ Club to three nearby brick factory villages where 150 – 180 kids attend in each village.
In Cambodia, children from poorer families are often sent out of the home to work rather than attend school. We’ve learned from many of our rescued survivors that they were first subjected to trafficking and sold for sex when they were promised stable jobs as household workers. AIM School was created to provide an affordable education for children of low-income families.
The mission of AIM School is to provide academic and spiritual excellence in education while protecting children from sex trafficking and abuse. Bible lessons and biblical principles are interwoven throughout the Khmer curriculum of literacy, math, life skills and ESL.
We opened the accredited school with two kindergarten classes of 12 students each in January 2011 and now (2017) offer classes through 5th grade for more than 125 students. All of the teachers are certified with the government and the students will graduate after completing the 6th grade. With this education alone, graduates will have a much greater employment opportunity than the general population.
At AIM School, we employ Child Advocates who regularly check in with families to reinforce the value of education and encourage them to keep their kids in school. Through the power of Christ’s unconditional love at work, these ministries have claimed the main street of Svay Pak for Christ, a place that was once filled with the evil of brothels offering little girls for sale.
AIM Health Care Clinic
One of the many things that can throw a poor family into financial distress is the need for medical care. The majority of residents in Svay Pak make between $1-3 a day and do not have access to adequate health care.
Through Rahab’s House Church, AIM provides health care to the staff and individuals within our Svay Pak programs, totaling around 500 people. We also provide basic health care and disease prevention training throughout the community on a regular basis. In addition to our ongoing health care services, we also have occasional dental and eye doctor teams who provide specialized services that would otherwise go untreated.
These health care services provided through Rahab’s House Church give us a valuable touchpoint with our community, helping to build trust with our neighbors and allowing us to meet the children around us. Many of these adults become church members as they experience the tangible love of Christ.
Pimps & Traffickers. They perpetrate and perpetuate the industry of child sex trafficking, taking advantage of the vulnerable and profiting off of the innocent. Whether because of poverty, greed, pain or perversion, these people are the start of the vicious cycle. Prevention is crucial in defeating child sex trafficking.
In Svay Pak, Cambodia, The Lord’s Gym is a free workout center where our staff develop relationships with, and mentor, men and boys in the community. Many of these boys are on the road to becoming pimps or traffickers, while others may have dabbled in it along the way. Through relationship, and the sharing of true salvation in Jesus Christ, we’re able to offer an alternative, whether that’s away from drugs, alcohol or sex trafficking or an opportunity toward a career as a boxer. Through these relationships, we build trust, integrity and a healthier community.
In a country which averages an income of US$50 per month, and traffickers and drug dealers stand to make thousands of dollars each week, there is little apart from complete heart transformation that makes these individuals turn from their livelihood.
Each day, the men hear a devotional, spend time boxing under the guidance of a boxing coach, and close with another devotional. There are two AIM staff members who run the gym each day: a gym manager who leads the daily devotionals and a boxing coach. Both staff members intentionally develop relationships with individuals so that they’re able to speak truth into their lives and share the love of Jesus with them.
This key element of our ministries has produced amazing transformational results, leading to information that allowed us to rescue girls, exhorting men to care for and protect the girls in their families, and even transforming the hearts of former traffickers who now earn their living through honest means. As of January 2013, the gym has seen seven former gang members and traffickers come to know Jesus!
Emergency Family Care
God’s word calls us to “Defend the cause of the fatherless” (Isaiah 1:17). AIM fulfills this through our Emergency Family Care (EFC) program, which shows Christ’s love to children and families who are facing extreme poverty, abandonment or abuse, and are most at risk of sex trafficking because of their need and vulnerability. Through EFC, AIM provides a safe place for families to stay, and is able to provide safe foster homes for children in cases of abandonment or neglect.
The program arose out of needs to temporarily house children in 2012 and 2013. In January 2014, AIM created an official program to better address the needs of around 15 children who were being helped at that time. Today, the program includes 15 house moms, a cook, two social workers, a director and a director in training. We have around 27 cases where the children stay in our facilities and about 15 “outreach” cases of children and families that we help in other ways. Some of these other ways include: daycare, food, supplements, education and meeting other needs.
Sex Trafficking Prevention Workshop
This 7-session online Sex Trafficking Prevention Workshop, written and taught by Clayton & Emily Butler, was designed to help you move from awareness to action on this global problem. This course will equip you to learn about ways you can prevent sex trafficking and make a difference in your own community.