One of our survivors was a foster child for most of her life.
Stuck in the system and carrying her belongings in trash bags from place to place because she didn’t have luggage.
As a young child, she was powerless and those who are supposed to help her, abused her.
Luckily, if you can call it luck, she escaped the physical abuse to experience emotional abuse and was forced to feel less than the family’s “real” children.
She had no place to go.
All that got her through was the hope that her family will come and get her.
While she was waiting, she met a handsome man who showered her with affection and attention.
After being ignored and abused, this man felt like a savior to her.
He promised her the world. He loved her.
Then he helped her numb her mind and used her body while telling her, “I love you.”
This went on for a little while and then he told her, “If you love me you will let my friends take turns too.”
This was unfortunately all she knew love to be.
Twenty years later, like many others who are victims of human trafficking, she was arrested.
She was branded a criminal, not the victim she is.
She was sent to rehab and roomed with 60 other women and treated like any other addict.
Six months later, she sat waiting for someone to pick her up.
A staff member from Hope Against Trafficking met her at the door.
She was nervous and scared, unsure about where she will go and how she will be treated.
Our staff member gave her a big hug and said, “Welcome to the circle.” Then, she was told that the circle is a place where she will be loved, welcomed and cared for.
Tears welled up in her eyes after she was introduced to her new home. She said she didn’t think she was worthy of such a beautiful home.
After she was shown her room, she broke down in tears and explained, “I haven’t had a bed and a clean home in 20 years.”
Today, she was shopping and picking her own food. She was able to buy new clothes and shoes and was excited and moved to tears again because she “feels like a lady again.”
Today she is healing, learning what love really is and is learning to love herself.