Ecuador, though geographically small, is an incredibly diverse country. Ecuador has four distinct regions: the Pacific Ocean coast, the Andes mountains, the Amazon jungle, and the Galapagos Islands. The official language of Ecuador is Spanish.
Quito, where our team is located, is the capital city of Ecuador. It is located in the Andes mountain region & it is situated at over 9,000ft above sea level. The equator runs through Ecuador, which is where Ecuador gets its name. Generally, places on the equator are very hot & places at high elevation are very cold. Quito ends up having an “eternal spring” weather as these two forces balance each other out. On a clear day, one can see many snow-capped mountains in the distance. Quito’s historic center is home to many culturally significant monuments & churches.
Human trafficking is a problem in every community in the world, including our community in Ecuador. Most of the women who have been trafficked within Ecuador are from the coast or jungle regions originally. There are also people trafficked into Ecuador from Venezuela & Colombia. The corrupt nature of police & legal systems is a barrier to achieving justice for those who have suffered this abuse.
Prostitution is legal in Ecuador. This makes it more accessible for the team to meet and get to know people in prostitution without the fear that they would be turned in for illegal activity. However, it also promotes the idea that prostitution is just another job and that engaging in prostitution is normal & acceptable. It is very common for fathers to bring their teenage sons to a brothel to lose their virginity. There are hundreds of people in prostitution in Quito, most of them motivated to be there for economic reasons.
End Slavery Ministries Ecuador has four ministries:
Casa Adalia: Residential aftercare home for women ages 18-22 and their children coming out of vulnerable situations such as sex trafficking, prostitution, domestic violence, etc. Holistic 24/7 care for the women & kids.
Caminos de Libertad: Non-residential services for women of the same population that live out in the community on their own or with a safe family member & come to receive holistic services.
Esperanzart: Jewelry workshop that employs women of the other ministries part-time, providing vocational training and a first step toward gaining safe employment.
Amadas: Street outreach to people currently in prostitution, sharing the love of Jesus through friendship & prayer. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the ministry has added offering practical help when possible such as giving food kits & helping connect them with community resources.
We have a multicultural, multidisciplinary team that works together to provide services & care for the women & kids. Each member of our team is highly valued for the perspective that they bring to the table as we seek to make decisions together. Our team is currently made up of Ecuadorians, Venezuelans & people from the USA. The majority are from Ecuador and all team meetings are in Spanish. While working with the team and participants, Spanish is a must as the majority of people in Ecuador cannot function in English.