What would you ask a survivor of trafficking if you had the chance to talk with her? Last night I was talking with one of my precious girls and she asked me if I had started scheduling speaking engagements for 2015. As I stated listing off the events I have books and the dates they’re scheduled she said,
One of these days I’m gonna go with you and tell my story.”
I had to smile. She’s come a long way in the past four and a half years. She smiles more and laughs often. She dreams of a future that would sound normal coming from someone in their early twenties, even though her life has been anything but normal since before I met her.
I told her I would never ask her to travel with me and share her story, but if she ever decided she wanted to do so, all she had to do was let me know. People are always asking me if I know a survivor who will come with me or a survivor they can interview.
They want the inside story without ever considering what it costs a survivor to peel back the curtain of her past and allow others to look inside.
How many of us would want stories of our most embarrassing, degrading times in our lives put on public display for all to see?
These amazing girls and women who have shared their stories with me have done so after we’ve developed a trusting relationship. They know I care about them. They’re family to me. I am very careful about how much of their story I share when speaking and I never, ever share a girl’s story without her telling me to do so.
I don’t want to use them for my personal benefit or I just become another pimp in their lives.
Luke 6:31 says,
Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
I wouldn’t want someone to pretend to be my friend, to care about me, just so they could use my story for their own personal benefit. They don’t either.
I shared this with Hope and told her that is why I’ve never asked her to travel with me and share her story. She said she wasn’t quite ready to do it, but wanted to one day. I asked her why she would want to share her story. What would she want people to know? She said,
People need to know this doesn’t just happen to crackheads or kids from the projects. It happens to all kinds of kids. I was a good student. I came from a good home. Made good grades. I was involved in my church. I just made a bad decision and went out with the wrong crowd and the next things I know I was being trafficked. I never saw it coming.”
Hope’s right. This evil is not a respecter of persons. It impacts every demographic imaginable. It happens in cities and in rural towns. It happens in quiet little suburbs. It happens to blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, and Middle Easterners. It happens where you live and it happens where I live. It happens to perfect strangers. And it could happen to someone you know. Someone your children go to school with every day. Someone who attends your church. It could happen to you.
- Become aware of the indicators (click here).
- Program the Hotline number in your cell phone so you have it at the touch of a button when you see something that looks suspicious to you (1-888-373-7888).
- Help raise awareness in your community by hosting an awareness event, a book club where you read a book about the issue (like Rescuing Hope) or speak up in your sphere of influence and share what you’ve learned.
- Make a difference. Become part of the solution. Lives are at stake.
- Raise your voice for hope!
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”