Saved from Slavery: Ava and Ethan's Story


When nine-year-olds Ava and Ethan* came to our Children’s Homes in Malawi, they had just escaped a nightmare. They were in the hands of a human trafficker.

Ava and Ethan didn’t know each other, but they shared the same heartbreaking story. Abandoned by their mothers, they lived with grandmothers who struggled to care for them.


Vulnerable children like Ethan and Ava are at risk from traffickers and other dangers. Your love and care help keep them safe.

One day, a stranger approached the grandmothers saying he had found Ava and Ethan’s parents at a farm in a neighboring country. He would be honored to reunite the children with their families.

The grandmothers, old and in poor health, were unable to see through the lie. They made the children go.

It soon became clear to Ava and Ethan that this man did not know their parents. He was about to sell them as slaves or prostitutes.

As they traveled on backroads, each mile took them further from their homes. Each minute brought them closer to a horrible fate.

Ethan would likely be forced to work in the tobacco industry or made to commit crimes for his handlers. Ava would likely be drugged, raped, and forced into the child sex trade. Or she would be married off and sold as a prostitute by her “husband.”

They had no one to help them and no one who cared about their well-being.

Then help arrived.

The trafficker took a path that was monitored by humanitarian volunteers. Unable to answer the volunteers’ questions, he ran away, abandoning Ava and Ethan.

The Malawian social welfare office provided temporary shelter and counseling, but the children needed a permanent home, as the grandmothers were deemed unfit to care for them. That’s when COTN was asked to take them in.


                                  Your generosity ensures that children like Ava and Ethan have a safe home.

We were able to give Ava and Ethan a safe, loving home thanks to the generosity of people like you. But there are more children just like them who need us. Will you join other COTN partners in helping these children today?

Right now, a group of generous partners has agreed to match, dollar for dollar, any gifts you give—up to $450,000—toward this fund! That’s a total of $900,000! In addition, we’re praying for an extra $100,000 to make this a true Million Dollar Challenge. Your $30 gift will provide medical, educational, spiritual, and social care to help Ava and Ethan move on and have a better life.

Your help will let Ava and Ethan know their nightmare is over.

COTN is committed to meeting the needs of the children we serve. And while donations from sponsors help meet many of these needs, some of our children are not fully sponsored, leaving a funding gap. Your generous gift will fill this gap, so we can continue meeting the needs of all our children.

Your gift will double, and your generosity will go twice as far to help children like Ava and Ethan, who would otherwise have no safe place to call home.

Please give before August 31 to ensure that your gift—and your impact—will double.

*The children’s names and images have been changed to protect their privacy.