Recently, armed police leaped out of a caravan of SUVs and dashed down narrow alleys to arrest a notorious international trafficker wanted on three continents. Destiny Rescue agents clad in bullet-proof vests sprinted alongside the officers in pursuit of the criminal and his young victims.

But our agents weren’t tag-alongs for this operation; we’d been there from the start. Our team brought the case to the police and worked side-by-side with them during the investigation at their request and under their authority. Our agents were assets.

Police and Destiny Rescue agents prepare to raid

Police and Destiny Rescue agents prepare to raid

Finding the best path

It hasn’t always been this way.

Destiny Rescue’s unwavering mission is to rescue kids and help them stay free, but how we pursue that goal is anything but static. 20+ years of experience rescuing kids has taught us what works, what doesn’t and how to adapt to maximize our effectiveness.

That willingness to adapt has led to a remarkably diverse range of rescue strategies. From vocational training in Uganda to border monitoring in Nepal, we’ve refined our techniques to best fit the needs of victims in a particular region over time.

Nowhere is that more evident than in our collaboration with law enforcement agencies (LEAs).

We conduct raids in several of our rescue regions, which are rescue operations in collaboration with law enforcement. In this article, we’ll highlight raids and the immense effectiveness of strengthening relationships with LEAs, but they aren’t needed everywhere; we develop rescue tactics for each area we work in based on the cultural, political and economic climate.

In the past, our primary means of rescue in much of the Asia region was “covert rescue.” Our agents would locate an exploited victim in a bar or beer garden, pose as potential customers to gain entry and then, after building trust with the trafficked child, offer her a means of rescue.

We still use this method effectively today on a case-by-case basis, but it has its drawbacks. If our agents’ covers are blown, the bar owner may prevent us from accessing the victims. But perhaps the biggest problem was best stated by Bruce, one of our rescue agents:

If there’s no punishment… it creates a vacuum to where (traffickers) can just go out and get another minor who potentially might have never been trafficked.”

An employee sits in a bar’s window display facing the street in one of Thailand's red-light districts

An employee sits in a bar’s window display facing the street in one of Thailand’s red-light districts

So we adapted, changing our model to become better rescuers. The result has literally changed the criminal landscape in some areas.

A potent partnership

To rescue children and prevent their traffickers from harming other kids, we’ve developed strong ties with LEAs all over the world.

We vet LEAs just like any other local partner to ensure that we only unite with others who also prioritize children.

Gaining the trust of authorities is challenging under any circumstance. Foreign police forces are, unfortunately, jaded by culturally ignorant but well-meaning Western groups. 

It’s not uncommon for such organizations to storm into these nations with civilian savior complexes, conduct cowboy “operations” that do more harm than good and disappear back across the ocean with little thought to the mess they leave behind or the children’s post-rescue needs. Overcoming that reputation takes time, patience, and—above all—a commitment to ceaseless integrity.

It’s work worth doing. Our teams have earned our standing with various national police forces by operating by their rules, being culturally responsible and proving that our agents are valuable additions to their teams.

“We’ve learned how the different government agencies and law enforcement tick,” Lucas, the rescue manager in the Dominican Republic, said. “Because we meet their needs, they are willing to help meet ours.”

Destiny Rescue Dominican Republic agents, alongside the Dominican Republic National Police

Destiny Rescue Dominican Republic agents, alongside the Dominican Republic National Police

Due diligence

  • MOUs: Part of that involves doing the right paperwork to stay above board with LEAs. We have signed Memorandums of Understanding in every nation in which we work, whether with credible partners or government entities, ensuring that communities know of our work there and approve of and coordinate with our operations. 
  • Code of Conduct: Every team member signs an iron-clad, living code of conduct that, in some nations, has to be approved by the local government for us to maintain accreditation. There is nothing more important to us than the well-being of the children we help. Every vetted team member is expected to behave above reproach, and violations are immediately met with suspension or termination.
  • Manual of Operations: Our extensive manual of operations must be submitted for yearly review in each area we work in, and in nations where we conduct raids, the manuals are even reviewed by partnered governmental entities. No “cowboy” tactics here: these manuals include rescue, financial and administrative policies, our financial background, as well as one, three and five-year plans for the future. 
Agents bow their heads in prayer before leaving for a raid

Agents bow their heads in prayer before leaving for a raid


Beyond all that extensive documentation, we have a set of checks and balances to make sure our teams stay on the right track. A major piece of these measures is our integration with local police.

Our team works closely with the very individuals who could prosecute us if our agents ever stepped out of line

A lot of the times when we’re out there doing surveillance, it’s with law enforcement sitting right next to us,” one rescue agent in the Philippines said. 

The fact that officers are always watching our agents (and vice versa) ensures that both teams are prioritizing the children. This close proximity also helps the teams to deepen our professional and personal relationships further, allowing us to rescue kids more efficiently than ever.


We don’t just show up for the photo op.

Local and national police departments have come to trust our team because we are committed to every part of rescuing children. Raids may seem exciting, but they are the culmination of months of hard work and tedious investigating.

“We’re here for the case buildup right through to the operation,” one agent in the Philippines said. “It’s all about submerging ourselves into the country we’re dedicated to.”

Prior to the raid, our investigators will spend weeks or months gathering court-admissible evidence to take the load off of overworked departments. 

Our teams are methodical and organized so that once our investigation is complete, police don’t have to worry about filling in gaps. “We will get all the evidence for the police and hand it to them in a complete package,” Mike, Destiny Rescue’s International Rescue Director, said.

Our help doesn’t end with the raid. Because our teams gather evidence, often as undercover agents, their testimony is invaluable in securing convictions for the criminals we help arrest. “[Agents] know exactly what police will need to close the case, and make sure to go the extra mile beyond the rescue and make sure that the evidence is properly collected, and a prosecution is likely,” Lucas said. 

And while some governments handle post-rescue paths and aftercare placement for the survivors after a raid, we help every survivor we possibly can begin healing from the exploitation they endured.

A Destiny Rescue caseworker works alongside Department of Social Welfare and Development social workers in the Philippines to document nightclub attendees after a raid in collaboration with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)

A Destiny Rescue caseworker works alongside Department of Social Welfare and Development social workers in the Philippines to document nightclub attendees after a raid in collaboration with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)

The result

These relationships have produced a more robust rescue strategy that is altering crime in entire regions.

  • In the Dominican Republic, our work with police has forced criminals to rethink their operations
  • The Philippine raid mentioned at the beginning of this article resulted in the conviction of a particularly nefarious, long-time trafficker who had hundreds of debased customers all over the world. 
  • “In Metro Manila [in the Philippines], because of our raids against massage parlors, establishments are being very careful admitting employees who are minors,” Bruce said. 

Not only are children being rescued in greater numbers, but the networks that profited from their sale are being destroyed. “It’s been proven over and over… that raids create an impact, not only on the law enforcement side, but on prevention,” Bruce said. “You’re dismantling the networks of human trafficking rather than taking care of one victim at a time.”

Most importantly, kids are being rescued from sex trafficking. 


A survivor is given a towel to protect her identity while escorted away from the scene of a raid by a Philippine National Police Officer

All the effort, paperwork, patience, and networking are simply a means to rescue more children. Our teams share a passion to see kids released from exploitation and free to pursue their hopes and dreams. Many have uprooted from their homes to live permanently away from all they’ve ever known, but most of our agents are local to the rescue area and refuse to turn a blind eye to the problems around them. They’re not in it for money or fame: many survivors never know that our undercover agents were actually good guys in disguise

“We’ve done a lot of operations with Destiny Rescue,” Villamor Tuliao, a Senior Superintendent of the Philippine National Police, said. “They are doing a wonderful job in saving these children and giving hope for them to recover.”

Will you join the ranks of those who give of themselves for the sake of suffering children? Your gift could mean the difference between a life of freedom and a life of abuse for an exploited child. Fill out the form below to rescue a child today. 

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Thank you fighting for freedom. You’re now a part of a worldwide team that is helping to rescue and restore the sexually exploited. You’ll receive regular updates on the impact that your generosity is enabling and the lives changed because of you.

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Over the last three years, 81.8% of every dollar we spent was used for programs that benefit the children we defend.

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We are grateful for your generosity and promise to use your donation in the most effective way possible. All donations designated for specific funds will be applied to those projects and to administering the gifts. At least 80 percent of your designated gift will go to programs that defend kids. Gifts that cannot be used for a particular project, due to over or under-funding, will be directed to Destiny Rescue’s most urgent needs. Contributions are solicited with the understanding that Destiny Rescue has control over the use of all donated funds.