*Today’s conversation is sponsored by Medtronic; all opinions are my own.*
*Trigger Warning: child abuse and child trafficking.*
They say, “Write what you know.” So…I will.
This past spring, my husband and I made the decision to join the modern day abolition movement — to help end slavery in our time. Specifically, child sex trafficking.
My story starts many years ago, though.
My father began molesting me when I was only three years old.
I was six the first time he raped me.
And I was nine when he sold me to a colleague for sex.
One night — and it was so damaging, even compared to the horrors I endured at my father’s hands, that I suffered a disassociative blank that didn’t lift until I was fifteen and something triggered the memory. Fourteen years later, and I am still dealing with the fallout of that one. single. night.
Somehow — and I credit the grace of God, for I know no other explanation — I survived my childhood. My father is serving life in prison for his crimes, and I have chosen a new path for my own life, leaving dysfunction and trauma behind me.
But I want to give back. I want my story — my survival, and subsequent thriving life — to mean something good for others.
I want to do whatever I can to make sure no more girls suffer like I suffered.
I was only trafficked one time. And it changed my life in ways that I am still battling to overcome. Yet there are girls all over the world who are trafficked for sex every single night. This cannot stand.
So Nick and I are working toward that goal. He’s pursuing training and certifications in security and investigation, and he’s currently sending out applications and resumes all over the United States, looking for work in order to gain on the ground experience in techniques that he can use as a covert operative in the fight against child sex trafficking. And I — I will write. My own story, and the stories of others, to raise a flag that says ENOUGH. The only way to end child sex trafficking is to make it unprofitable — and trafficking thrives in darkness and silence. As does child abuse of every kind. While Nick hopes to fight trafficking by infiltration and rescue, I hope to fight it with words, and lots of them.
Another person fighting to end child sex trafficking is Gretchen Merritt, one of this year’s Bakken Invitation Award honorees. I love her quote, pictured above — “What makes you angry? Work to change that.” Sex trafficking, especially of children, should make everyone angry. Gretchen does something about it by partnering with an anti- sex trafficking agency in India called Freedom Firm. The agency we hope to partner with is Destiny Rescue, based out of Thailand but operating in multiple countries. I admire people like Gretchen, who choose to make a difference with their lives, however they can. Whether you go yourself, or sponsored a rescued child financially, or buy fair trade goods made by at risk communities — every one of us can make a difference.
If you’d like to help us make a difference in the lives of trafficked and at risk children and their families, we hope you’ll consider checking out our story in more detail — we’ve shared it on our #GiveForward fundraiser page. You can click over via the fundraiser widget in my sidebar, to the right of this post.
In the meantime, the Bakken Invitation wants to give you the opportunity to do some good in your own community. Interested?
Enter the giveaway, below, for your chance to win a $100 VISA gift card — the catch is that you must use the money to give back in some way in your local community.
Honorees of the Bakken Invitation are selected because they have faced and overcome great adversity in their lives and health, and made the choice to use their “second life” to do good for others. You can read all about these ten incredible people, and I hope you will be inspired to rise above difficult circumstances in your own life, for the good of others. Even in the midst of suffering, we all get to choose how we will treat the people around us, and I count that a blessing.
How do you give back to your community and loved ones?
*Thank you to Medtronic for sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% my own.*