She was standing in the kitchen, helping prepare food for the gathering crowd. She was vibrant and lovely, laughing with her friend as we crowded around the kitchen island. Over months I slowly learned her story and recently she began to write a blog titled 9to20.
You may wonder about the title. Those are the years of her life when she was trafficked, or sold into sexual slavery, as a child, teen, and young woman, before she finally escaped. She is now anonymously telling her story on her blog, 9to20. It is not easy to read, but it is the truth. Right now, in our communities, there are children being sold for sex – just typing those words makes my stomach clench.
If you are reading my blog, chances are, you care about children. Whether your concern is for the fatherless, children who have experienced trauma, children from all kinds of “hard places,” it all boils down to children who are vulnerable. Vulnerable children have no voice – it is up to us to care about them, give them voice, and defend them.
In addition to the atrocities my friend suffered, her entire childhood was stolen from her. From the age of nine, she was sold for sex – again my stomach hurts as I type. I know this is hard to read, but please stick with me – because we cannot turn our heads, click to the next blog, and hope this is not real. It is real.
Imagine getting ready for school like this,
I take a quick look in the mirror hoping that my face won’t take too much repair. $%^&*@! There’s a bruise on my neck… that’s at least an extra 5 minutes of makeup application. I’d taken a shower as soon as I got back last night but I can still feel that sticky creep on my skin. Besides, my hair smells like cigarettes from the drive home… can’t have that walking into honor’s English.
She goes on to describe trying to find clothes that will hide bruises, taking pain killers with beer, trying to finish homework as she drives to school, and then missing her first class.
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Last year I wrote a post, We Call You a Child, after reading the book, Renting Lacy. I was shredded by that book, which is about the prostitution of children in America. I think I cried for a week and when we made a trip to Montana, I made Russ drive through truck stops looking for girls who might need help.
My friend has found her voice and she is telling her story. Though it may rock our pretty worlds, we need to listen. We need to care. We need to ask God what He wants us to do. In the meantime, we can pray. Pray for my friend, pray for the girls and women still enslaved. Let’s keep our eyes and hearts open to love vulnerable children.
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