Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wonder Woman Wednesday-Helping fight against in Portland

They are young.  They are beaten.  They are forced to service up to 20 men every single day.  They are terrified of leaving the life that they've been forced into, and they are tired.  The tiredness that a soul experiences once it’s been forced into slavery is the most deafening exhaustion once can experience.

Their stories all start the same.  Somewhere in their very young lives they were sexually abused by a family member or close friend of the family.  This abuse completely throws their lives into chaos and this is the age that survival begins.  Many times, the abuse is so bad that they run away around the age of 13, when the hormones of puberty confuse everything even more. 

Wherever teenagers hang out, pimps hang out.  They are looking for very young girls who are already hurt, who already have cracks in their souls.  They prey on these girls, promising safety, love, and attention, the very thing these girls crave the most because they didn't get it in the most important years to have it.  Before they know it, they are turned out to the street and forced to work until they have enough money to give back to their pimps.

There is emptiness in their eyes as the fire of youth burns out. 

Many of them are lost forever, killed, or so broken that they believe no one would ever love them.  Most of them love their pimps as if he were their father or boyfriend.  Many of them are bogged down with criminal records longer than they are tall.  So many of them die addicted to drugs, alone, and at the hands of a stranger right in our back yards.
Sometimes, one of them breaks free and escapes the grasp of their former life.  It takes a lot of healing the crevices of pain in their souls, but forever there is a sense of urgency to help others who are trapped in the life of sex trafficking.

Part of helping others is telling their story. 

The city of Portland, Oregon has recently voted to support a lawsuit against, a site where people can go right now to purchase sex with girls who aren't even old enough to get a driver’s license. 

Craigslist, who used to have adult listings,
 has removed them permanently
 in an effort to fight against sex trafficking.
  It's estimated that by cutting the adult
 listings out, Craigslist lost 44 million dollars in 2010,
 but regardless of the monetary lost,  they made the cut.
Only spreading awareness about  backpage will
force them to remove these girls from their listings.
A sex trafficking survivor who we only know as Shelley spoke to Amy Frazier of Koin6 News and told her story.  It started out the same as they all do.  She ran away from a broken situation at home at the age of 15 an was approached by a man who she believed really fell in love with her.  He then beat her, forced her into trafficking, threw her in the trunk of his car if she tried to escape, and eventually she turned to drugs.  In her 30’s she met a man who helped her leave that life, and he eventually became her husband.  She now works to spread awareness and uses her story to push back the darkness in the lives of sexually exploited teenagers. 

After the brutal murder of Ashley Benson, a trafficking victim who was killed at the Double Tree Hotel in North Portland, Shelley agreed to speak to the news station.

Ashley Benson, 24, was found murdered at the Double Tree
Hotel in North Portland
“I was devastated because that’s another young lady that is a human being like all of us that deserved to still have a life,” Shelley said.

Today, Shelley is a Wonder Woman, because no matter how much it hurts, she uses her story for good to shine a light in the darkness of sex trafficking. 

Are you ready to tell your story?  If you or someone you know is a Wonder Woman because of her strength, courage, and resolve to spread awareness and do hard things to build strong women?  Email your story to and you may be featured in a Wonder Woman Wednesday article. 

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