A worldwide problem.

It is estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide (recent UNICEF report.) The UNICEF orphan numbers DON’T include abandonment (millions of children) as well as sold and/or trafficked children. The current population of the United States is just a little over 300 million… to give you an idea of the enormity of the numbers…

According to data released in 2003 as many as eight million boys and girls around the world live in institutional care. Some studies have found that violence in residential institutions is six times higher than violence in foster care, and that children in group care are almost four times more likely to experience sexual abuse than children in family based care.

  • Every day 5,760 more children become orphans.
  • Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
  • Each year 14, 505, 000 children grow up as orphans and age out of the system by age sixteen.
  • Each day 38,493 orphans age out.
  • Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home.
  • Studies have shown that 10% – 15% of these children commit suicide before they reach age eighteen.
  • These studies also show that 60% of the girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.
  • Another study reported that of the 15,000 orphans aging out of state-run institutions every year, 10% committed suicide, 5,000 were unemployed, 6,000 were homeless and 3,000 were in prison within three years…
  • An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year; (THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN 2005)
  • 2 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry. (THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN 2005)

Why Colombia?

There are many reasons and ways that God has clearly led us to minister in Colombia. Here are just a few:

  • In 2010 Colombia had 577,000 orphans. (Children on the Brink) Note: For a little perspective, Sparrow International makes approx. 4 organized trips to Colombia per year. We minister to approx. 500 orphans per trip. At that rate it would take us 289 years to just see every orphan once. Colombia, is just one country in Latin America. Latin America is just one of three regions of the world, along with Asia and Africa, where the orphan problem is rampant. Asia and Africa have a vastly larger orphan problem than Latin America.
  • Colombia has been under the scourge of a 40-year civil war. This, along with the drug trade, has caused violence and consequently a rise in orphans in this country.
  • Girls, especially orphans, are abducted into child soldiery and sexual slavery and are sometimes forced into armed service by their parents as a form of ‘tax payment’, as happens in Colombia. (THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN 2005)
  • In Colombia, for example, girls as young as 12 are reported to have submitted sexually to armed groups in order to ensure their families’ safety. (THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN 2005)
  • Interpol estimates there are 35,000 women and girls trafficked out of Colombia every year for the sex trade, with estimated profits of $500 million, making Colombia second only to the Dominican Republic in the West. It is beyond comprehension the horror that these women and girls face as they service on average 40 clients per day. (Interpol)
  • 1.2 million children are trafficked every year world wide; this is in addition to the millions already held captive by trafficking.
  • The average age of a trafficked victim is 14 years old.

One can only imagine what will happen to the sweet, pretty girls that we meet in the orphanages when they are turned out into the street at 18 years of age. This is why we have made safe houses one of our four main priorities so that these girls are not on the street and vulnerable. Will you help us?