Sometimes we have to allow our hearts to break over the reality that many children in our world are vulnerable and highly susceptible to abuse, trafficking, and modern-day slavery. May these honest words spur you on and motivate you to love even deeper than you already do…
I saw them. I saw so many girls. Some boys too. I saw them at all ages and stages. I saw the under 21s. I saw the over 60s. I saw the ones who didn’t speak English. I saw the ones who were desirable to groups of people due to their size and even disability.
At one time they were children who didn’t have a family to fight for them and ended up in the sex industry. And dare I say, I saw my children in the future, except for the grace of God. Statistically, this is what the future would hold for children like yours and mine if they had stayed in the system and were only known as blurred out faces.
Most Americans who are victims of sex trafficking come from our foster care system. It’s a system that leaves vulnerable children to be preyed upon by pimps. Internationally it happens too. Orphans are prime targets to be trafficked. They have no one. No skills. No one to fight for them. Children have been known to vanish from orphanages. It’s easy for them to go unnoticed when there are no records. It’s as if they never existed.
This is who I saw at the clubs, porn convention and legalized brothels of Nevada.
I’m not saying all these women were trafficked. But 20% of the clients we served were. And that’s just the ones we knew about. Even if this was a path they chose of their own free will, not one child wakes up one day and says, “I want to become a sex worker when I grow up.” For various reasons, they have all been desensitized to this life.
The first time I visited a brothel, I scratched my head in terrified and horrified disbelief. What is a girl like me doing here? Then, what is a girl like that doing here? But the more I visited, the more I looked forward to it. What I found is that they really were very much like me. They were women. Moms. Some had custody. Some didn’t. Some of them were wives. We shared stories about our kids. There’s always a story to share there. And I felt like I was getting a break from my daily trauma momma life, yet still engaged with the population my heart ached for.
This organization I volunteered with exists solely to give value to these women. That’s it. We didn’t preach to them. We didn’t encourage them to get out. But we did let them know if they needed a dentist, a doctor, counseling or anything else, we could help get them those services. Regardless of what the world tells them, these women have value. We took our usual cupcakes, makeup and hair supplies and helped them get ready for their day.
One day, there was a lot of whispering and gathering of the girls as they anxiously talked with the social worker. Another worker’s boyfriend beat her up badly. And since she was beat up, she couldn’t work. Since she couldn’t work, she couldn’t stay there. She had no where to go. So she went back to stay at her boyfriend’s place. They knew she was in danger. They asked us to help. Several attempts were made to reach her, but she never returned the calls.
A couple months passed and I received a text. She died and it was being investigated as a homicide. I was shocked. I knew of many families with tragic circumstances surrounding the loss of their loved ones. But none because of murder.