There is a reason for all things that happen in this life. Well at least I want to believe that. I want other human beings that have experienced the terror and horrors of trafficking to be able to heal so well that they can look back and feel at peace with what happened.

The reality is strikingly different. Your life is forever altered and there are things about you that are no longer the same. I think that if I had willingly changed things about myself I would not feel so much fear in wondering why I am now this kind of person. Quite similar are women, men and children in physically and/or sexually abusive relationships. You are never who you once were. You are now living with the person created by means of violence. You see the world though a tainted lens.

Some days you are able to find the resilience that lies deep inside your vulnerable heart. The place that no longer needs to be shielded. You start to see things about yourself return. Other things that have been repeated over and over again are not as easily changed.

For example I was exposed to a dangerous neighborhood as a child so I have certain survival traits that others may not have. Fast forward to being trafficked and I am now in a potentially life or death situation every hour of everyday. My life after was extremely difficult to navigate at first. I was constantly hyper-vigilant of my surroundings and would read every single person within my eye sight. That is just down right exhausting.

Just Imagine for a minute that you have literally 15 seconds to read the faces of fifteen strangers and decide if they are going to harm you. Don’t forget it’s also important to categorize them from less harmful to most harmful. So the next time you are working with someone who has been trafficked remember you are being categorized from trustful to not trustful within 15 seconds. The power to chose my relationships have lead me to the healing place I am in and this was vital to building trust with others.

Mental health deprivation can be lethal.

Additionally, poor physical health is simple indicator of being a victim of trafficking. When you are trafficked your body is experiencing extreme levels of stress on a constant basis. I look at the health care system that is not aware trafficked persons are right before their eyes. The physical signs that appear are red flags, yet they go unnoticed by most medical doctors and nurses. I fear we are losing the fight to save trafficked persons and more people will vanish without a trace.

We need to ask more questions. We need to say “Do you need help?” , “I am worried about you”, “I am here to listen if you ever want to talk”, “You can trust me to not put you in danger, you make the rules to communicating”. We must raise awareness and everyone has to know what trafficking is and they need to be able to identify it. Finally they need to report it!

Love always lives here,