This year the theme of our blog is Because I Care. Caring about this issue is the only way change will happen, and so we are focusing on caring this year. To start off the year we asked our staff and some of our volunteers why they care. Over the next few weeks we will sharing their stories. As I said before, caring is how we will see change, so I encourage you to join us and share on social media why you care about ending trafficking. Today we will be hearing from our Associate Director, Emily, she works with our survivors.
Sex Trafficking is somewhat of a buzzword right now. It can seem so grand and untouchable with big statistics and the dramatized stories in the media. However, when I think about all of the millions of human beings that are enslaved, I can feel the issue towering over me. I can feel helpless and useless in a way when I think of the enormity of the issue. Even with the looming statistics and darkness surrounding this systemic issue, I dove headfirst into working towards a world where sex trafficking can no longer exist. Why...?
Because I care. Even though I didn’t know those who were enslaved. They were connected to me. Innately I knew that they mattered. And even though they may never know me or what I did for them it doesn’t matter.
I remember sitting across from Hannah* at a coffee shop. I sat, looking at her as we talked about her friends at school and starting a new job. If you were to see us that day, you would have never known she had been sex trafficked, miraculously found by law enforcement, and returned to her loving family, only months before. I had been meeting with her and her family since her return. I supported them in their transition back to “normal life” and had the honor of getting to know this resilient person. As I sat with her that day, I looked around the coffee shop at other young girls and back at her. I thought about the things that she had endured, the deep pain, and trauma that she was still experiencing and something shifted in my heart. Sex trafficking was no longer a big statistical tower looming over my head. It was here, tangible. She represented the millions of other incredibly resilient people who have and are still enduring modern day slavery.
It was no longer a moral, innate conviction that drove me to care. I cared because she mattered.
*Name changed for her privacy.