She was young, just 14, a typical American teen, full of life and hope and promise. She thought it was cool that the 20-something guy at her local Starbucks would talk to her. That he seemed to like her. That he understood her dreams. That he found her attractive.
She had no idea who he was behind the smiles, and the soy lattes. But on the day she got into his car, she found out.
He took her. And sold her. To five men. On that first day.
Damaged goods, she would spend the next several years, not at high school, not going to Homecoming dances, not flirting with the cute guy in Algebra, but as a sex slave, here, in the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free.
This is a true story. Human trafficking happens in India, in Africa, in Southeast Asia, in Eastern Europe, and here, in the United States of America. It’s happening to our kids.
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Every month should be. Because until we open our eyes to the problem, until men realize that they are abusing a human being when they dabble in porn, that they are raping someone’s daughter when they buy a prostitute, until the law recognizes the difference between perpetrators and victims, injustice will reign.
No one should be enslaved by men looking for sex, or a brick kiln owner in need of workers, or an agricultural operation looking for pickers.
Part of my motivation in writing my soon-to-be-released novel, “Seeds of Evidence,” is to bring attention to the problem of human trafficking. There are others who are doing much, much more. Here are links to three of my favorite groups fighting this scourge:
Wellspring International http://wellspringinternational.org
International Justice Ministry: http://ijm.org
Shared Hope International: http://sharedhope.org
Get educated. Get involved. End trafficking now.