real life

The pregnant mum-of-four who's moving overseas to help combat child trafficking.

Most expecting mothers probably couldn’t fathom moving down the street during their
pregnancy, but Jess Morley, 33, is due in January, and has just moved her husband and four children to Thailand.

Why? Because, put simply, she wants to make the world a better place.

The family, from Bendigo, lived incredibly normal lives – Jess and Chris’ four kids love their sport, music and books – but the pull to the developing city of Chang Rai was so great, they had no choice but to uproot their cosy country life.

“Even though it’s a tourist destination we already knew it was a façade for what was really going on,” Jess tells Mamamia.

“You can just go to the to the tourist parts and everything looks great and paradise, and you just wouldn’t know unless you are educated into what’s actually going on.”

Jess, Chris and kids.

The reality of life for too many children living in the Asian city is one marred by human trafficking - an issue the Morleys have combined with charity A21 to hopefully, eventually, eradicate.

Jess formerly owned a pilates studio in their local town and Chris taught music at the local school and although these jobs fulfilled them, they always knew there was something missing.

That something was delivering change.

“For us we’ve been contributing financially which has been great but we really felt like we had more to offer,” the mother of four said.


“We can be parents for more children, and help to educate a lot more parents on the crisis.”

Jess helping out in local village.

There was support from all lengths of the family and that truly did clarify the "strong family unit" Jess spoke so fondly of.

The decision for change was made after the pair met a couple at their local church who’d spent some time over in Thailand fighting the crisis. From there, Jess and Chris made their first trip to Chang Rai. It was 2015.

The initial glimpse of destruction - almost entirely inflicted upon young girls - might be a deterrent for some, but for the Morley parents it was merely the drive they needed to return.

“It was a lot worse than we thought, just finding out about the sheer volume of the crisis was pretty overwhelming,” Jess said.

“We definitely knew we’d be back."

"We know we can only do so much, but we will just aim to help that person who is put right in front of our path and do the best to educate everyone on the truth of human trafficking," she said.

It was a trip back to Chang Rai at the start of this year with the kids that saw Jess and Chris make their final decision.

“It’s great though because we started to see a change in them, like wanting to give up the things they’ve got to give to other children to make them happier."


"They were really happy to help out and they immediately made friends with the local children and them feeling happy about going back, has obviously been great".

“I knew it was time to just go back permanently,” she said.

Bags were packed with minimal toys, and the car was left behind.

Listen: The couple who hiked acrosss the desert with a toddler in tow. (Post continues...)

"It is true that is better to give than receive and when you go out on those trips your really start to understand that".

In what most parents would consider a “dangerous situation”, the Morley parents will embrace as a challenge for their close family.

“We really think it’ll help them later on in life to find something they are passionate about and actually pursue it,” Jess said.

“We’re a family unit and would never neglect our own family in the process of helping others,” she said.

“We all have the opportunity as parents to raise our children how we think and for us as parents it was really important to raise our kids with a community mindset.”

The family will be focusing on the prevention and aftercare process of the trafficking scandal to ensure the children’s safety is top priority.

“To see the restoration of girls that have come out of brothels and to see the hope that they now live with is really amazing," she said.

Jess and Chris believe this experience is a healthy one for their children and one that teaches them the core values of giving, that later on in life they’ll be able to share with others.

“They understand that the children are slaves, but we try and keep them a little bit sheltered from that,” she said.

The family admit it wasn’t all smooth sailing making the decision and the thought of leaving friends, family and jobs they loved, was never going to be easy.

Both Jess and Chris agreed that the reward they seek out of their next adventure is much more worthwhile in the long term, as both individuals and for their growing family.

“We never wanted to get to the end of our life and not have done something."

The Morley family has set up a Go Fund Me Page where you can help support their journey.