Oftentimes people want to hear rescue stories of human trafficking. They want to think that a minor or and adult is “rescued” from a situation of exploitation or trafficking situation and now everything is going to be better. In many ways it is true the worst is over, the experience of being beaten, sold for sex multiple times a night and all of the psychological pain and suffering that goes along with that is over. Now the work of recovery is to begin, there is a need for housing, for basic needs to be met, to address some life skills, and financial needs.
However, the impact and trauma of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is complex. The trauma and suffering is not simply over – it is not all better the next day… I know many people may think it is like to think that everything is better now but the truth is survivors will need help for a long time to come.
In my case, I am survivor of CSEC and a family member exploited me from a very young age. There are many things I suffered in my life, many things I never got to learn and this left me with many difficulties in life. One of the difficulties I faced is having to face the fact that I was never really loved and children who are exploited by family members face the same realty. We leave with an added dimension of pain and suffering of not having a family, having suffered this horrible trauma of being sold for sex by someone who should have protected us and now we have to continue taking care of ourselves because there is no one to go now.
It was deeply painful to know that I was never loved and that maybe never would be.
Furthermore, survivors face added psychological and physical challenges. Many deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and may wonder if they will ever be able to have friends, fit into the “regular world” or simply make it in life. At times the pressure to survive simply feels crushing. If one can ends up finding faith in God this can be literally save a person; not simply from hell but in order to be able to function in daily life. I personally have found the Psalms helpful and life giving. The lament Psalms make up 40% of the book of Psalms and contain a deep crying out, longing and wailing to God, knowing that He will respond to us.
God places the lonely in families;and sets the prisoners free and gives them joy – Ps 68:6
What I do know is that we can’t walk through life, especially this type of trauma alone. We need others; we need people to walk alongside of us. We need friends and people to become family to us. You can’t change the past; it was bad, evil and horrible. However, you can walk beside us today. You can change today and help us so that we are not alone today too.
Faith is wonderful and honestly I couldn’t make it through life without Christ. However, we need a ministry of presence. We need people who are representatives of Christ and His presence in everyday society and in our lives demonstrating the love of Christ in order that we may understand what this type of love is truly like. I more than my story, and I need real and valuable relationships with others that show me that I can be loved because of who I am. Let me know that you believe in me, if you think I do something well, please tell me. I need to be accepted and loved because I, like you, am a person in process. I have not learned some of the things that most kids learned, please be patient and help me along the way.
Will you reach your hand, heart and life across and love not only me but many others who have lived through experiences that no one should ever live through? We could really use a hand-up and be shown a bit of love for maybe the first times in our lives.