Although many in the United States have made inquiries about adopting these children, international adoption agencies say it could take months or longer to determine whether a child is truly an orphan.


“It’s best for these kids to be with their extended families in their own communities,” says Mettimano. “The adoption process should not start for two years because it can take that long to get children back to their families. We want to see that process exhausted first.”


Vigilance will be required among aid groups and government officials, says IJM’s Haugen. Not merely in seeking the families of these children but in paying attention to the problem and protecting them traffickers. “It’s a positive thing that there has been so much attention on this issue,” Haugen told “But the traffickers will be patient. They have time on their side. They often obtain children but don’t sell them for months or years.”


Haugen’s new book Terrify No More tells the stories of children that International Justice Mission has rescued from sexual slavery. The book follows the IJM covert missions to infiltrate brothels that traffic children, rescue victims and prosecute perpetrators.


Although the issue of child sex trafficking is grievous and painful to think about, it is the duty of Christians to address this evil head-on and display God’s love for the oppressed. In the introduction of his new book Haugen writes:


I am convinced that any serious contest with evil requires a painful confrontation with the truth. The greatest and most shameful regrets of history are always about the truth we failed to tell, the evil we failed to name. The greatest enemy in our struggle to stop oppression and injustice is always the insidious etiquette of silence.


Haugen hopes the new publicity from the tsunami will alert more people to the problem of sex trafficking worldwide. “This region of the world already had a big problem with sex trafficking before the tsunami arrived,” he says. “This will help Christians have open eyes to what is going on in the world.”


Stephen McGarvey is the editor of interactive media for BreakPoint with Chuck Colson and the Wilberforce Forum. He is also a Fellow of the World Journalism Institute and a freelance writer.