Saturday, February 2, 2013
Can You See Her?
This was the street I lived on while in high school. It was in the finest area of our city--a neighborhood with gorgeous homes. When we moved there, I finally had my own bedroom. My friends envied our pool, shuffleboard court, and the upstairs den I shared with my two sisters. But I would have traded all of it for a family that ate dinner together every night.
After my parents divorced, I rarely saw my dad. My mom and stepfather fought ferocious battles. So did I, within myself. Why was my family such a mess? Where was my safe place? Who could I trust? I longed for someone to care about me, to ask about my feelings and pay attention to them. No doubt, my parents did the best they knew how, and now there's so much for which I'm grateful. But I was a kid back then and didn't understand what seemed to be a facade of fancy houses with hidden secrets. If human trafficking had been a problem then, I would have been at risk for becoming a modern-day slave.
Life is hard and many girls have parents who, for one reason or another, don't pay much attention to what their children are doing. What's the likely outcome for a girl when her stepfather pours a beer over her mother's head--just as a new heartthrob from the wrong side of the tracks comes to the front door? Though we had a rule about my mom meeting the boys I dated, that night when I fled the chaos, no one noticed. By the sheer grace of God, I was a teenager during a time when the entire country operated for the most part on biblical principles. And, the boy I dated respected me.
At nineteen I got married. He said he loved me and that was enough. But it wasn't enough to make the marriage work. Still longing for the stability of an intact family, I thought a baby might help. My firstborn son became the joy of my life, but by the age of 25, I became a single mom, and that was hard.
Evidently some young moms today are having survival sex. They need to make money and many of them don't have job skills. So with casual sex no big deal, they become easy prey for traffickers who offer easy money. The children of prostituted young women frequently end up in foster care, and the mom keeps turning tricks hoping one day to make enough money to rescue their babies.
Recently the woman who lived next door while I was in high school told me what is likely another trafficking story. She said she'd learned that the young girl who had frequently come over to play with her granddaughter had become ensnared in prostitution and was working in Las Vegas. Quite possibly a trafficker had targeted this hurting girl and manipulated her into modern-day slavery. The younger they are, the more money they're worth.
What other scenarios put a girl at risk? Do you know? Do you care? Can you see her? My next post will be about the indicators that a girl is being trafficked and what you can do to help.
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