“Build them homes and call them family … these are your daughters.”
Daughters. Hmmmm … What would I do if one of my children were missing – were being exploited in this way – I contemplated. Anything! Everything! Was the obvious answer. I would stop at nothing to see them rescued and set free. I would shamelessly ask for help, for money, for prayers, for resources, for anything to help these vulnerable ones if they were my children.
It has been 12 years since that dialogue with my Heavenly Father. So much has happened during that time as I have sought to “do something” as God whispered. During this time, some things I have witnessed, I would truly call miracles and others, I would call battles straight from the pit of hell. I have met victims – children – who have told me stories of such depravity that I cannot call it anything but evil. I have wrestled with my own faith as I have cried out to God to heal these young ones and set them free. I have searched the country for mental health professionals who have seen this level of trauma in anyone besides the ones they have read about in a text book. I have cried tears with young women who are trapped in the past by their memories who so desperately just want to move forward into their future wondering why they have to relive the pain of the past to be free in the future. I have said “I don’t know” more times than I have had answers to the questions that plague victims “why me – why did this happen to me”. I have shamelessly asked for help and watched a community respond by faith while others refuse to believe it is even happening. I have seen courage in action in ways I never knew were possible. I have seen victims of this crime take responsibility for their lives; determined to be and do all God created them to in spite of their lack of answers, lack of understanding and lack of resources. I have seen lives extracted from hell and I have seen hope where I don’t know if I would have had any.
Yes, we live in a world where children are sold for sex but we also live in a world where lives are being transformed, victims are set free and survivors are leading a movement where they are thriving. Below is one of those stories. It is my honor to have called her one of my daughters for the past 9 years … this is her Freedom Song because someone believed in her.