What do you do when the person you’re trying to save doesn’t know she needs saving? Many times that is the case with victims of sex trafficking. Victims don’t always self-identify as victims and even fight or run from the very help they need. This makes helping them very difficult.
There are a variety of thoughts out there about the best way to go about restoring survivors and articles written about it.
Some schools of thought promote placing them in lock-down facilities so they cannot run, even if they wanted. Others believe they’ve been held against their will enough and need to have the freedom to leave if they choose, even if they aren’t in a stable state of mind to know what’s best for them. Mary Frances Bowley of Wellspring Living said,
Sometimes it takes up to seven times before a girl will choose to stay. It’s part of the healing process. “
So why do they run away from help? Why do they leave a perfectly safe home, where they receive medical treatment, are fed three healthy meals a day, are offered counseling, true friendship, and even the education they may have been taken from when taken into the trade? One survivor put it this way,
It’s harder to accept the unknown, even when it’s good for you. Fear makes you run. At least if you go back, you know what to expect.”
Proverbs 26:11 says,
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
It doesn’t make sense to those who haven’t been through it. It seems once a victim has escaped the life she would run full speed ahead towards freedom. This is when we have to love and not judge if we truly want to be part of the solution.
We have to recognize that two steps forward and one step back is still moving forward.
One survivor I’ve walked life with has been in four different forms of treatment since I met her. The first stop she fled from after 30 hours. I didn’t hear from her or see her for weeks. The next place she stayed 36 days. Then she ran again. The third time she went into a program, she remained for just over two months. The fourth place she stayed even longer. Each stop, while only a stop for her, was a place where seeds were planted or watered along her journey towards healing.
1 Corinthians says,
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.”
When a program director, a counselor, or a volunteer encounters a victim of human sex trafficking, we never know if our role is planting or watering, but it doesn’t matter. It looks the same [Matthew 25:40]. We’re called to accept her and love her. The results aren’t up to us. The results are up to the Lord.
The moment we start trying to manipulate her to get the results we want is the moment we become her new pimp.
We are not called to fix her. We couldn’t if we tried. We’re simply called to be Jesus with skin on and treat her with the same love and tender care He treated the woman at the well or the woman caught in adultery [John 4:7-29, John 8:4-11]. The rest is up to Him.
Grab your packet of seeds and your watering can. There are miles and miles of ground out there that need our attention. Are you up for it?
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