Beginning in the late summer of 2009, Desire Treur Zova, began to volunteer at a rescue center for adolescents rescued from the sex industry in Ecuador and developed relationships both with the girls and the staff. Desire invited Debbie and Phil Douce along with others, to visit and minister to the girls on Sunday afternoons.
Desire’s involvement and heart for these girls was the initial impetus for Phil and Debbie Douce, missionaries with International Teams USA and involved in a discipleship training called Casa Gabriel for former street boys, to explore how they might get involved. They formed a new ministry and legal foundation called End Slavery Ministries Ecuador whose purpose was to intentionally and relationally reach out to girls in Quito, Ecuador who desperately needed hope, healing and freedom. Their desire was to help the girls discover how much God loves and values them and encourage them to discover they can experience life with purpose and freedom.
Team members of ESME continued to volunteer at the rescue center FNJ and build relationships with the girls and staff. Over time, trust was built with the administrators of FNJ, and the team was asked in the fall of 2012 to provide the spiritual component for their therapeutic program. During this same year, EsperanzArt was founded by Desi's husband, Miguel Zova, a former street kid who personally understood the pain of poverty and oppression.
Through the volunteer work and relationship with FNJ, the team was also made aware of the desperate need for a “next step” home for girls who had gone through the initial rehabilitation at the rescue center and who did not have the option of living with their family. The team began to pray about and take steps towards working intensively with young women ages 18-22 at risk of being sex trafficked or who had been rescued from the sex trade, starting an after care home called Casa Adalia. The home opened December 3, 2013.
Today, ESME has grown to include two more ministries: Non-Residential Services (Caminos de Libertad) and street outreach to people in prostitution (Amadas.)