Human Trafficking in Ecuador

Betrayal and Slavery, Human Trafficking

This may be a strange topic for a nomad.  Given the traveling lifestyle we have adopted, the fact that freedom is something I truly cherish should be of no surprise. There are so many things that can enslave us: dictators, debt, false beliefs, or even marriage. I have spent years cutting one chain at a time and I am free, spiritually, physically, and financially.

Human Trafficking

I count those blessings every day.  Maybe this is why I feel so strongly about fighting human trafficking and especially sex slavery.  For years this issue has been close to my heart.

Foundation in Ecuador

Human Trafficking

Before leaving the USA over one year ago I heard about a foundation here in Ecuador that helps girls who are rescued from human trafficking. Many of these girls were sold by their own family members, often by their own fathers, into sex slavery.

It is hard to even fathom the betrayal or the trauma that these girls have experienced.

Human Trafficking

For the past year, I have been anticipating this stop in Quito, Ecuador. I wanted to be involved, even if I had little to offer. Even if the most I could do was make a few people aware.  I wanted to see the work being done here.

Meeting Boris

After a few days in Quito, we met up with Boris, the director of the Dunamis Foundation. Contrary to his Russian-sounding name, he is Latin American. His life at age 30 is already worthy of a book.  We give a glimpse of it as he recounts his life-threatening experience with a guerrilla group in Colombia and then later his life on the streets in Ecuador.  The rest we will leave for his book

Tagua Nuts
One new life skill taught at Dunamis is how to transform a plain tagua nut into jewelry

Boris showed us around the current Dunamis Foundation building where they conduct classes, such as jewelry making, and facilitate activities for the girls.  He also showed us their new facility, still under construction, which will allow them to have a greater impact on these girls’ lives.

Tagua nuts transformed
The “gems” created from Tagua nuts are made into beautiful jewelry

Repairing Walls

We found a few ways that we could help.  The current building needed some wall repairs, while the new building could use some help with cleaning construction dust and the fabrication of a driveway entrance gate.

damaged wall
Hole in the wall at the Dunamis Foundation that needed to be repaired

There was a huge hole in the wall in the current building that needed to be fixed.  It was opened up due to a water pipe leak.  We called Chuck, the best mason I know, from Oswego New York for a bit of advice before starting, then got to work.

We spent the first week and a half helping with renovations of the current Dunamis workshop where some of these rescued girls learn new skills, build new relationships and begin learning of their worth.

mixing cement
Trin mixing concrete to fix the hole in the wall

On the first day that I met the girls, they wanted me to participate in a dance with them. Now, my dancing skills are… well let’s just say that if Elaine from the Seinfeld show were to dance with me, she would look like a ballerina. My insecurity was screaming inside to say no and just sit on the sideline to watch.

But I looked at the girls and realized that it didn’t matter what I looked like in my attempt to move to music. What mattered was telling them with my actions that I cared about them and wanted to be a part of their life. I danced if you can call it that, and we performed the number before lunch. I only want them to know they have worth.

Refuge in the Mountains

We then moved to the new facility located high up in the mountains.  We spent a bit of time here in this beautiful location getting it just a little closer to being ready for the girls to move in.

view from safe house
View from the safe house.  Elevation: Over 12,000 feet (3,600 meters).

The new home will provide them with a safe place to stay away from the pimps and the predators.  It is also a place for them to recover while learning new life skills and enable them to avail of professional opportunities.  The goal is to give them a new start, a second chance.

Five ways you could help

Human Trafficking
Photo Credit: Dunamis Foundation
  1. The Dunamis Foundation still needs to build a wall around the property for the safety of the girls both from their predators and from themselves. You could put together a team and come visit beautiful Ecuador to build a section of the wall.  Contact directly if you have a team.
  2. Buy some jewelry for yourself or a friend.  Managers, this is a great Christmas gift idea for your employees.
  3. Donate directly to Dunamis.
  4. Share this post with others whom you feel would want to help.
  5. Purchase items from product links on this blog.  All proceeds from commissions are donated to foundations and organizations that support young girls rescued from trafficing.

Freedom isn’t free.
It is a cherished gift.


More information is available at the Dunamis Foundation Website

Footnotes: 1.  2. Skinner, E. Benjamin. A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery. New York, NY: Free Press, 2008.  Other Resources:

4 thoughts on “Betrayal and Slavery, Human Trafficking”

  1. Wow! For personal reasons, this is very dear to my heart as well. These girls DO need to know that they are worth something and that NO ONE owns them. What a beautiful blog

    1. Exactly, and it will take some time for them to understand how much they at worth. I’m really hoping we can get the safe house done quickly to give them longer to recover.

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