In 2013, we were blessed to start our work in Colombia. The first trip was just to one city known for its tourism, but the work in this place exposed a great need. Numerous bars were found where children as young as ten were being sold for sex. We began to identify scores of tourists travelling to engage in sexual relations with children, and we also uncovered several child pornography rings. We teamed up with one of our partner organizations, and the initial USA/Colombia joint rescue freed twelve children, ages 11-15, and fifteen adolescents, ages 16-18. Five traffickers were also arrested.
Our work progressed, and after over a year of investigations, a large-scale three-city USA/Colombia joint operation took place, also with the help of our partner organization. Over 123 victims were rescued, including 56 minors, some as young as eleven. Authorities apprehended 12 traffickers and immediately began taking action to stop over a hundred American sex tourists whom we had identified during the course of our work. One American, believed to have victimized as many as 40 young girls, was convicted of sexual conduct with minors and sentenced to 15 years followed by 25 years of supervised release. Authorities have since arrested many other sex predators and sex traffickers identified in this investigation. What a blessing to work with such dedicated US and Colombian federal agents, and awesome that so many of them have come to know Jesus as Lord! We are grateful for the victories, although our work in Colombia has barely touched the surface of the problem. Pray that these initial operations lead to much greater things.