On My Own, I Am Not Enough (Over at SheLoves Magazine…)
This one was hard one to write, it brought back a lot of sad memories, but it also reminds me that sometimes fighting human trafficking is as unremarkable as stretching our boundaries on what it means to give enough, some days it is as simple as reading a bedtime story to little girls who need to know they are loved…
In case you missed it, check out this months post at SheLoves Magazine
The girl in the photograph appeared to be 12 years old, but it was hard to tell. Her body, it seemed, was just starting the transformation from child to woman. It was the lack of development that confirmed she was too young. She still had the look of a child, and although the advertisement offering her up claimed her name was Jessica* and that she was “barely legal,” I knew it could not be true.
My suspicions were confirmed when I uncovered pages of conversations from the men who had bought her.
“Watch out for this one, she’s jailbait.”
“No enthusiasm, she just seemed to lay there.”
“Wouldn’t recommend her, she seems drugged out.”
“She’s too young, and her boyfriend and all his friends were waiting in the living room the whole time.”
It was enough information for us to know something was wrong. After a few days of waiting for the police to investigate Jessica’s situation, I gave our police contact a call to see how things were coming along. He dodged my questions. There were bigger fish to fry than a local street pimp and his underage victim.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I figured out which building she was working out of, and began to drive by keeping an eye out for her.
I became obsessed with looking for Jessica. For months I prayed, researched, made phone calls, drove the area where I knew somewhere inside she was working. I wrote out pages of thoughts and made paintings trying to express my heartache. I kept records of everything I did in my attempt to find her, because I was convinced one day I would be able to show her that all the time someone was looking for her, even if she thought she was forgotten.
The police were slow to act on the tips I’d given them. Cracks were showing in the team we were working with and we started to suspect corruption was also blocking investigations.
During our search for Jessica, I met Anna*. Anna’s parents both died from HIV/AIDS and the Children’s Home she had been living in closed its doors from lack of funding. At 17 years old, she was homeless and lonely. When she was introduced to Joe, he became everything to her.
Read the whole article today at SheLoves Magazine…