SOUTHEAST ASIA - Hat was just 13 years old when he was trafficked away from his home to work on a fishing boat in Thailand. With little food or payment, the boy toiled for a brutal boss under dangerous and often inhumane conditions.
Young and innocent, the boy felt trapped and threatened for nearly 10 years. When he turned 23, he escaped from his cruel enslavement, heading toward the place he barely remembered as his home.
Lost, alone and hungry, Hat began stealing to survive. The police picked him up on the border of Thailand and Cambodia. They recognized that he was a victim of child trafficking.
Thanks to partners like you, the young man was not arrested. Instead the police delivered Hat to one of World Concern's Safe Haven recovery centers for abused children.
Children who have endured the trauma of trafficking and abuse suffer severe mental and emotional dysfunction.
At World Concern supported Safe Havens, boys like Hat learn basic life skills as they train for a vocation. As Hat practices rebuilding motorcycle engines, he's rebuilding his life at the same time.
Up to 35 boys are enrolled in each 10-month training program. The boys learn the same “School on a Mat” curriculum that other at-risk kids are being taught. Hat looks forward to graduating soon with valuable new skills — and three dozen new brothers!
Though Hat values the new family he has found at our Safe Haven, he still longs to see his own mother and father again.
"I'm afraid they may think I am dead," he worries. "They may not even remember me. I may not even recognize them."
But as Hat works toward restoring the life he nearly lost he says, "I hope to someday have the courage to return home."