Friday, January 9, 2015

In Plain Sight opened my eyes wide to sex trafficking in the United States

Today has been a day of contemplation.  One quote from If I Stay, one of my very favorite books in the whole world, keeps bouncing around in my head like a computer screensaver:
“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.”

Nothing could be farther from the truth for me.  For the first half of my life, I was sure everything was happening to me because I was cursed, or God hated me.  Then there came a time where I grew an adult brain and realized that there are illnesses, patterns, and unbroken chains of learned behavior that take root deep in the heart of families.  In the last 2 years I have really begun to heal from the trauma of my early life and realize that whether I liked it or not, a choice made me.

When I listen to the stories of some of these girls who survived sex trafficking, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and other traumas in their lives, I find parts of my story in their story.  It never really clicked for me until after hearing me speak, several women would corner me in tears and hug the breath out of me and whisper in my ear, “Thank you.  You just told my story."

Then it hit me.  How many of us are there?  How many of us are still trapped in bondage, fear, shame, and self-hate?  How many of us are trapped in terrible situations because we blame ourselves for what happened to us?  Something welled up inside of me until it seemed that every cell in my body would come undone.

Sometimes choices make you.

At first, I tried to avoid it like Jonah, only there wasn't a whale to swallow me up.  No matter what I did, every door I opened led to the same situation, and it all ended the same way.  I needed to use my life to help others.  I needed to share my story because someone out there needs to hear it.  They need the spark of light in their lives to set them on fire for change.  This is how we break the cycle.  This is how we cure poisoned families.  There is a cure for the poison that eats us from the inside.  The cure is us.

Last night, I was able to go with some of my Damsel sisters to see In Plain Sight, a movie about the reality of sex trafficking in America at Compassion First's screening and experience exhibit.  It’s something that is swept under the rug, but it happens every single day in every single town in every single corner of the world.  It’s happening in your town, maybe even your neighborhood.  There is one common denominator through every story I have heard from someone who was coerced into sex trafficking.  They were all sexually abused in one way, shape, or form long before they were ever sold for sex.

The scope of my life hit me a little hard last night.  As I watched these girls talk about their experiences, falling in love with the wrong guy, being coerced by a pimp, and learning that a runaway is more than likely approached by a trafficker in the first 48 hours of running away, I was floored.  There was a moment I felt like I was trapped in a twisted version of 'It's a Wonderful Life' watching what could have been had I not been sent away when I was.  I dodged that bullet by less than a hair.  I was rescued the very day that hell would have begun for me.  I was saved within a couple of hours of my departure into this life.  I was so tired, so done with being abused that I was willing to leave my family for the life I thought I was trained for.  I gave up, but God had different plans for me.  I was saved.  So many aren't.  Why was I spared when so many other girls are not so lucky?

Compassion first showcased a screening of In Plain Sight along
with an exhibit showing the realities
of sex trafficking.
Trauma continued in my life, but it went a different direction than being sold for money.  I wasn't supposed to go that direction because I know in my heart I wouldn't have survived it, and God had bigger plans for me.  So many times I can clearly see how His hand were working in my life, from the dozens of times he saved me as a child and young adult to the times he placed the same choice in front of me through every door, no matter how I tried to hide from myself.

Sometimes choices make you.

I don’t know what is in store for my in 2015, but I know it is coming.  My emotions are too heightened and raw to see clearly thought the pain and sadness I feel about what I learned last night.  I want to set the world on fire and shake everyone until they wake up and see what is happening to these children.  100,000 children are sold for sex every year.  Not in Cambodia or Indonesia, not in a third world country.  Right here in the United States of America.  Our children.  This has got to stop.

Mothers selling their children for pickup trucks, letting drug dealers molest their daughters for drugs, men paying to perform sex acts with little girls and boys, it has got to end.  You can’t close your eyes to it.  You can’t ignore it.  I won’t let you.

I don’t need to know today what the future holds for me in the fight against children sold into trafficking.  I know these beautiful starfish are all stranded on the beach withering away in the baking sun, and I can’t save them all, but I know there is a plan, and God will let me see it clearly when it is time.

What I need to know is are you with me?

If you want to know more about what my team is doing to help in the fight against sex trafficking in our back yards, please email me at

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