I recently read of a young woman who was sold by her parents to men for sex. Not once, but on a regular basis from the time she was five years old until she escaped. Girls like her are left on a park bench, church pew, or in a bathroom and instructed to wait until a man comes to get them. He will later return her to the same place with no one suspecting that he isn’t a relative or friend.
I thought I knew the whole truth about sex trafficking, but I was wrong.
Most of us, (me included until I read Not For Sale and began research for my novel, Dangerous Ground,) believe that sexual exploitation happens in other countries or is so hidden we will never see the victims or perpetrators.
It’s not what we think.
After watching a few videos of these young women who have been rescued, I was stunned once again to learn of the depravity of this evil. This week, I talked with a friend who is a chaplain for a police department in California who shared her knowledge of similar experiences. Then after reading this article, the importance of sharing this information became compelling… especially since my book depicts a trafficking ring holding girls in captivity.
While Dangerous Ground has opened the eyes of people who weren’t aware of this travesty at all, I certainly don’t want it to be misleading in any way.
Often, victims sit beside us in our community, our schools, or in families we think we can trust. We need to have eyes to see the truth as well as the evidence in front of us if we want to stop this horrific situation.
“Instead of being kidnapped by their trafficker, nearly all victims of domestic minor sex trafficking are groomed by someone they love and trust. The trafficker then uses that love and trust to manipulate and sometimes blackmail their victims into being sexually exploited.
Very few victims of child sex trafficking are kept in a bunker or in chains. In fact, many victims are still living at home and attending school. Others might be living on the streets. Traffickers more often keep their victims “chained” to them using trauma bonding and complex psychological abuse.” (quoted from “Fact or Conspiracy Theory?” by Kelly McKaughey, Shared Hope International, Aug.17, 2020)
While various conditions exist for victims of trafficking, let’s be aware of the fact that many times victims live right in front of us. If we know what to look for, we may be able to offer assistance where no other rescue would be available.
Check out this post from O.U.R – Operation Underground Railroad for signs to look for. Better yet, in the post, you’ll find a link to participate in their video training.
You can donate to any number of organizations that fight trafficking, rescue victims, transition victims back into life, and create opportunities for people to avoid situations that make them susceptible to trafficking. Here are a few I support:
In addition, half the proceeds from every copy of Dangerous Ground sold goes to support these organizations. You can read a novel, become more educated, and part of your money spent will be donated. That’s a win, win, win!