As we walked out of the airport we were met by our Mission coworker Karen Campbell Nelson, who along with her husband has been serving in Timor for over 20 years. Karen would take us around the island with her colleague Emil from the Evangelical Church of West Timor also known as GMIT. After exchanging pleasantries we were told there was a group of pastors and nuns waiting for us in the cargo area.
We learned that a casket was on our flight from Bali. We quickly found out that this was the 83rd casket that had arrived within the past few months from Malayasia and surrounding islands. The young man who was deceased was 26 years old and was violently taken from this world. It had taken over two months for his body to be identified and for financial resources to be met for his remains to be brought back home.
Should I add how this young man died We prayed for this young man with church leaders from the region. Most of us realize that human trafficking and migration are very dangerous. Timor is now beginning to make signicant efforts to educate people in rural areas who are at a higher risk of being trafficked or lured to migration.
Timor-Leste is a prime destination people who live in rural areas to fall victim to trafficking or migration. These people are sent to Indonesia and other countries for domestic servitude, household and agricultural labor. Timorese people a led to believe that migrating promises a better opportunity for employment. In actualiy migrating does afford better employment. The risk associated with migrating are what make this a dangerous choice for Timorese people.
Immediately I learn how human trafficking was impacting so many people, from the people who leave Timor, to their children, extended families and even church communities. There are granparents now being forced to raise their grandkids. There are broken marriages, some men don't return home to their families. There is a financial strain still when a mother or father migrates. Most women still aren't sent enough resources back home for them to pay for their childs education and other neccessities.
Timor is growing in developing ways for support, victim protection, training, and safe houses. Through education and resources GMIT is helping pastors in local communities to educate its congregations about the risks of migrating illegally and the signs of potential trafficking. GMIT hopes to encourage people who want to migrate to do it legally so they are less suceptible to fall victim to human trafficking.
GMIT is also providing avenues that help produce income to people who have migrated or are thinking of migrating. Kompastani offers farming marketing, training, job placement and skill trainging for Timorese people. Timor needs are prayers human trafficking is a horrible.....