We love to encourage passionate people to pursue their own vision of change within their community. We often remind ourselves that we are in the business of making heroes and not striving to be the hero. It is always a great honor to share the story of a hero who is making a difference in the lives of children. This is the story of Emil and his work to prevent human trafficking in poverty stricken communities in and around Quito, Ecuador.
Emil is the kind of guy that we like to encourage. He runs a media company that supports his non-profit. This self sustaining model is an ideal example of what we would like to see in all of our efforts. We had known Emil over the years as he had helped with logistics and been a great resource for our teams.
We met with Emil for an hour in April of 2012. We had taken a chance of a vision trip to share our concern about the risk of human trafficking and exploitation as it pertains to children. Emil was one of many stops on that trip but that was one of the best hours we ever invested in.
It was a simple meeting in Emil's conference room. We shared troubling reports of trafficking and our appreciation that the problem mat be escalating in Ecuador. We shared our experiences from other regions of the world and how it inevitable becomes a crime against children.
He was receptive and concerned. It was clearly something that he had heard about but was not his primary focus for his non profit. We left Ecuador wondering if any of our efforts would spur local action.
Little did we know that Emil would spend the next several months contemplating the issues and developing a plan. A chance connection on Facebook chat several months later gave us some idea that he had taken our concerns seriously. Several months later we were amazed at an email and attachment that describes the program that he calls, "Footprints".
Footprints is everything that we could hope for. It is prevention based. It is focused on warning children as well as engaging the community around them to be on guard. It was easily reproducible and contextual. It was and is a great program that has few equals.
The best part of the story is that it is more than a plan. It is a program in action. At the time of this update, the program has been run a half a dozen times throughout the Ecuador and the Galapagos. We are looking forward to seeing it in action soon and beginning the process of replicating it in other cultural contexts.
Thank you Emil! It is a great honor to see you making the difference in the life of child. Prevention of abuse, neglect and exploitation makes a difference. Footprints is on the frontlines of the battle for our children!