A Sea of Troubles

By Evelyn Smith. Evelyn, 46, is a mother of six from Thomasville, Alabama, USA. Please read her entry and leave your thoughts and comments below.

“You have to understand that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land”-Warsan Shire. The raw intensity of the cruelty that lies within nature is never more evident than when we envision the open ocean. The mysterious depths are filled with what our ancestors thought of as sea monsters- leviathans waiting to devour the wayward traveler who would dare to breach the serenity of their watery domain. Since the dawn of time, humans have feared the sea. The wind and waves during a storm could toss their small boats dashing them against rocky shores and grinding them to pieces.

Love of a Lifetime…

When a baby is born and laid into the eagerly waiting arms of the mother and father, the parents look down into that tiny face and fall deeply in love. There is a bond between children and parents that is unexplainable to those who have not experienced the miracle for themselves. As the baby grows the parents look on with rapt attention. Each step, each word, every minute accomplishment is a joyful milestone to be shared and celebrated. Parents nurture their children. They care for them tenderly. What could bring a parent who loves their child more than life itself to surrender their heirs, their future to the merciless expanse of the sea?

Precious Cargo…

Just before the outbreak of World War II, thousands of Jewish parents did just that. With the advancement of Nazi forces, the land was no longer safe. Jews were being rounded up and corralled into concentration camps. Homes were destroyed, lives ravaged. Over ten thousand child immigrants ranging in age from infants to teens were transported to the safe haven of other countries. Most of their parents readily agreed to the mass exodus of the children. They saw it as their only hope to keep their children safe and allow them to have a future. These children were transported by train, plane, and sea with only a small suitcase and a label with their names attached to their clothing.

Foster families volunteered to take them in, but there were not enough families to sustain the massive influx of children. Some were transported to holiday camps that served as temporary homes and others to hostels where volunteer workers cared for them until the war ended or the children were old enough to care for themselves. A host of children who were saved by this movement have gone on to be influential members of society; doctors, lawyers, scientists, and artists. Four of these child refugees grew up to receive the Nobel Prize.

Modern Problems…

The world is now facing the largest refugee crisis since World War II. Millions of children across four continents have been displaced from their homes due to violence, war, and poverty. The refugee camps are overflowing. Children are losing years of education, without which there is little hope of rebuilding their countries. Healthcare in these areas is nearly nonexistent. Thousands of children have entered Europe unaccompanied by adults, and have now disappeared. The speculation on their whereabouts varies from reuniting with their families, to moving on to other countries, to possibly being abducted into human trafficking. The government officials in the areas surrounding the refugee camps typically have little knowledge of who exactly has come and gone from the camps. This makes it very difficult to keep track of missing children. They fall through the cracks in the overworked system. These smallest of refugees deserve a far better fate than this. Society as a whole has failed them.

Refugee Rescuers…

Organizations such as Unicef, Save the Children, Doctors without Borders, and The International Rescue Committee act on a global scale to offer assistance to refugees. These organizations focus their resources mainly on daily necessities, schools, and healthcare. Their members work tirelessly in an effort to offer assistance to as many displaced families as possible. However, most if not all of them are understaffed and underfunded. This is where we as a society come together as a global community and support their efforts. Whether we do this by volunteering time, money, or by directly fostering the children in need, there are innumerable ways that we can help.

Hidden Heroes…

Child refugees who have been separated from their parents either purposely to try to get the child to safety, by accidental separation, or even by the death of their families are especially vulnerable to human traffickers. Operation Underground Railroad is an organization created to help end child slavery. O.U.R.’s team is made up of former CIS, Navy SEALs, and Special Ops operatives posing as predators who “buy” the children from their kidnappers. Synchronizing their efforts with local government agencies, they orchestrate a sting operation in which all parties are arrested, including the men who pose as buyers in order to rescue the children from their abductors. These men have chosen a more direct route to help rescue endangered children. The men who work in this organization report that the worst part of the operation is that the children are unaware that the “predators” are in actuality the heroes who have saved them from their abductors. However, they say that the smiles on the faces of the children when they realize they have been rescued is payment enough for their efforts. Since its creation in 2013, this organization has freed 1,588 victims of human trafficking.

Local Liaisons…

Through the course of research I have come across two Christian organizations working to save refugee children that are based out of Alabama, the state where I live. Bridges of Faith is a non profit organization that rescues Ukrainian orphans from their war torn country. They bring them to their retreat center in Alabama where they share their faith and help them find adoptive homes. Roads of Hope/The Emmanuel House is an organization that maintains safe houses for orphans and helps to facilitate adoptions. On their Facebook page, these two organizations list the main dangers for these refugee children as human traffickers, criminals, and suicide. The statistics are staggering. According to Bridges of Faith, “For orphans who stay in the system until they graduate from high school, in those first years after graduation, ten percent commit suicide. More than ten percent go to prison. Only ten percent make any reasonable kind of life. Shockingly, sixty percent of the girls are trafficked.”

Time to Take Action…

What would it take for a parent to place their beloved child in the uncertainty of a boat on a perilous journey into the unknown? It would require a depth of desperation that many of us have never encountered. The most crucial question of all is what will it take to make the rest of us understand that we have the responsibility to help these child refugees in any way that we are capable? Tossed on a sea of troubles, these children have left behind horrors and atrocities that most of us have never imagined, only to replace one dangerous situation with another. I have outlined organizations on the international, national, and local levels who are doing what they can to save these children from the fates. Like a rock thrown into a pond the waves ripple outward ever growing. The smallest effort is multiplied as it is continued on, led by others who have a heart for these hurting children. The time has come for us to make a stand and fight for those who are too young and vulnerable to fight for themselves. What will you do to save a child from a sea of troubles?

14 comments on “A Sea of Troubles

  1. Christy Knight on

    Very thought provoking and brought me to tears!! Thank you for shedding light on this terrible situation and finding ways to help!! This a very well written article! 🙏❤️😢

  2. J D Cox on

    Intriguing article that calls for individual decision and action. A well written expose’ of the on-going plight of refugee children and organizations that are addressing the dangerous trafficking of child refugees.


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