I felt the metal of the gun being shoved into the back of my head as I was forced to the ground. I was afraid to move. Afraid to speak.
This was not a reality for me. However, it was in a nightmare so vivid, I wouldn’t want to feel it, like millions of innocent children have had to feel, and still feel. Children are lured into the sex traffic industry every day and raped multiple times every night. Can you even begin to imagine what such trauma does to the heart and soul of a child? Probably not.
Their minds are so young, precious, and pure! So fragile! My heart breaks every single time I think about their innocence and vulnerability that was stolen and destroyed, while any chance to be a normal child was crushed, unless they break free. My compassion for these children grew even more when I revisited the moment I was raped exactly one year ago today, on Christmas Day. I remember the shock that took over my mind and body not knowing what to think or do. I was numb.
I was 31 then, while the average age of a trafficked child is between twelve and fourteen, some even as young as four. The mark of such a traumatizing event would scar a child for life. I’ve only lived through it once, while these children that deserve a chance to live their lives, have lived through it multiple times every single night and are taught they are worthless. Such trauma steals the very being they were created to be and never had the chance to become. But there is hope, and love146 wants that hope for these children. (See http://www.love146.org for more stories and ways to support). In that world, the children don’t even have names, but numbers and listed on a menu describing their “specialities.”
We know this because co-founder, Rob Morris, of love146 went into brothels to gather information for investigations. Listen to his story:
“We found ourselves standing shoulder to shoulder with predators in a small room, looking at little girls through a pane of glass. All of the girls wore red dresses with a number pinned to their dress for identification.
They sat, blankly watching cartoons on TV. They were vacant, shells of what a child should be. There was no light in their eyes, no life left. Their light had been taken from them. These children…raped each night… seven, ten, fifteen times every night. They were so young. Thirteen, eleven… it was hard to tell. Sorrow covered their faces with nothingness. Except one girl. One girl who wouldn’t watch the cartoons. Her number was 146. She was looking beyond the glass. She was staring out at us with a piercing gaze. There was still fight left in her eyes. There was still life left in this girl…
…All of these emotions begin to wreck you. Break you. It is agony. It is aching. It is grief. It is sorrow. The reaction is intuitive, instinctive. It is visceral. It releases a wailing cry inside of you. It elicits gut-level indignation. It is unbearable. I remember wanting to break through the glass. To take her away from that place. To scoop up as many of them as I could into my arms. To take all of them away. I wanted to break through the glass to tell her to keep fighting. To not give up. To tell her that we were coming for her…”
Because we went in as part of an ongoing, undercover investigation on this particular brothel, we were unable to immediately respond. Evidence had to be collected in order to bring about a raid and eventually justice on those running the brothel. It is an immensely difficult problem when an immediate response cannot address an emergency. Some time later, there was a raid on this brothel and children were rescued. But the girl who wore #146 was no longer there. We do not know what happened to her, but we will never forget her. She changed the course of all of our lives.”
I am so thankful I at least had trusted people I could confide in and received prayer and had a strong emotional/spiritual foundation before this had happened. I was surrounded by love and had counselors available, but not these kids. They were lured away from their broken homes where love or encouragement was rare to find. I can’t imagine what it would be like for a child who never had the chance to grow into who they were created to be because of the disturbing emotional seduction of pimps where they were preyed upon and raped. Their precious minds have been conditioned to believe that the sex traffic industry and slavery is all they are worth and that’s all they can do. Love146 is connected to aftercare which helps these children to get back on their feet, to simply love them. Lies within the industry tell them they are worthless, but they need a chance to believe the truth that each life is priceless.
Get involved. Love protects. Love defends. Love restores. Love empowers.
Thank you Heather Evans for the following video!