A Day Out of the life. Looking back & Moving Forward - Lifting our Voices.

Walking alongside a Survivor of Sex Trafficking.

It was a snowy Sunday. A freezing, icy rain kind of snow day. I was in a bad mood and I refused to be comforted by God or anyone else. I was angry and I felt like my old self. I lashed out at my son’s father and at God for no good reason. I couldn’t pray. I needed to nap and I slept for 3 hours. When I woke up, the anger was gone and I was ready to start my day over again.
As I turned my phone on, the video I forgot I was waiting for was there…
The trafficking survivor that I’m mentoring was being baptized at the church she attends while in a safe home out of state.

I met “Annie” about a year ago. She came to the halfway house I was working in and she was a mess. We connected right away and we talked a lot. I gave her a copy of Jasmine’s book and a Bag of Hope. I didn’t see her for two days. Finally, she came running into my office, excited and crying at the same time. She threw the book down and said “this is my life! I need to meet this Jasmine lady”. I gave her Jasmine’s number and they talked on the phone a few times. She was beside herself with her new found knowledge. She was no longer a victim but realizing she was a survivor. Sadly, three weeks later, she left the program and went back to her trafficker.

Over the next year, I began building a relationship with her by coming alongside her as she struggled to figure it out. She was an alcoholic but her real addiction was to her trafficker and the lifestyle the commercial sex trade brings. She went in and out of detoxes and recovery homes so much that her insurance was about to cut her off. I continued to guide her as she explored the Christian faith, teaching her who Jesus is and how He can help her find out who she was created to be. Later in the year, I picked her up from a hospital after another suicide attempt and was taking her to another program. It was while driving down the highway, she accepted Christ into her heart. It was a beautiful moment. We both cried and I knew God was working in both of our hearts that day.

A month later she left that program and I was heartbroken for her. She didn’t seem to be “getting it”. I also felt like I was enabling her to continue down the wrong path. I told her she couldn’t contact me again until she had 6 months clean. She understood, but it was a hard conversation. About 2 weeks later she called and I hesitated to pick it up. She told me overdosed and almost died. She sounded so sad and desperate. At that moment, I felt the Lord speak to me and then through me. I asked her if she was ready to leave the state and seek further treatment in a safe home. Because earlier in that week, I had met a woman who runs a safe house in Alabama for trafficking survivors. Without hesitation, she said yes! Two days later she was on a plane.

Two months later, she was back in Boston because she was asked to leave the home due to an altercation with another resident. She asked me to help find her another program that was out of state. I brought her to my house and for the next two days we made calls and referrals to different safe homes across the country. She picked one in Pennsylvania and left three days later.
While she was staying with me, we talked a lot about her time in Alabama and how she felt closer to God than ever. It was there, that she finally could see that He was truly working in her life. And that she could make it.

While at the latest program, she has gone down into some valleys. Her past trauma is starting to come to the surface and the emotions she has been numbing for years are starting to come alive. She is scared. She doesn’t know how to handle the feelings and she is letting her anger get the best of her. We have spoken a few times since her baptism. I am happy and excited for the new milestone in her life. I encouraged her to keep trusting God. She is afraid to mess up and doesn’t want to let her family and God down. I told her how I screwed up shortly after my baptism and reassured her that we all make mistakes. What I’ve learned is that, it’s about progress – not perfection and God can use it all. I reminded her that the same power God used to raise Jesus from dead, is inside of her and the Holy Spirit will teach her how to use it.


Please keep her in your prayers. We know that the enemy will relentlessly remind her of who she was in the past. We also know that God is in the business of redemption and often uses our past failures to bring Him glory! Walking alongside women who have been trafficked isn’t for the faint of heart. I am so grateful to have these front row seats into her transformation. It makes the work I do – worth it. I am grateful that God has set me on my own path to healing and recovery so I can show other women how to find freedom. We all walk it out differently but the enemy will use the same lies to keep us in the cycle of shame. The difference is that God uses His love and promises to comfort us and bring us out of that cycle and into His arms.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ”

Written by: Anita, Recovery Coach and Mentor for Bags of Hope

Edited by: Jasmine Grace. Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.

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A Day Out of the life. Looking back & Moving Forward - Lifting our Voices.

The Work has only Begun

freedom miranda

 

First trafficked by deception and fraud and then held captive by psychological manipulation, she was in and out of the Life for almost twelve years.  During those years, she would be out of the Life for a stretch of a few years, she was never free from the bondage of evil. And thus kept going back to the Life, unable to break free from the invisible chain.  

Brothels, massage parlors, karaoke bars, and escort services—the Life was her default mode of life that was always pulling her back and also tempting her to fall back to whenever she tried to be her own, whispering to her ears that it was where she really belonged.  Men always abused her and treated her as a sexual object anyway; ‘at least now I’m getting paid for it,’ she told herself, trying to convince herself that it wasn’t too bad and perhaps it was better.

But it was a life of darkness and utter hopelessness.  She thought maybe she would end it all by taking her own life.  And she tried a few times—in vain.

Meanwhile, by God’s grace she had a chance to attend a local church a few times and was even baptized at one point; though, not before long, she drifted away from the church and God and soon relapsed back to the Life.  Nevertheless, God was faithful and one day when she was contemplating a suicide again, God brought to her mind Christ in whose name she was baptized. There is a power in the name of Christ. At least she quit trying to kill herself from then on.  And slowly she began reading the Word of God, and as the seed of the Word took root in her heart, she became convinced of the evil and sinfulness of the Life and resolved to get out of the Life for good. And Christ delivered her out of the Life and redeemed her.  And she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior.

Not before long, she started serving God at a local church and became involved in anti-trafficking works.  She firmly believes that the inherent dignity and inviolability of a human person lie in the fact that all women and men are created in the image of God.  She also believes that it is only through the power of Christ the bondage of evil can be broken and only by His light the darkness can be overcome. And she is a witness to the power of redemption that is in Christ.  

She is currently studying at a seminary pursuing her M. Div. degree and also helping other women exploited by the sex industry at a non-profit Christian organization.  God has blessed her with a good Christian man with whom she has been married for four years now.

Authored by: Miranda

©Copyright 2018. Jasmine Grace

 

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Articles

TogetherRising #sHERo Award

If I want to see change in this world, then I must be the change myself. If I want to empower and inspire women then I must be transparent and authentic in my own life. – I need to walk my talk. Right?! The best part of working in the anti-trafficking movement is being a part of something bigger than myself. To realize that my pain is being used for someone else’s healing is pretty amazing to me. I love to see the transformation in women’s lives after I have worked with them or after they have read my blog. I love to bring hope and healing to women on the streets, in programs and in my own community. I have been sharing my story of survival for a few years now and most of the time after I share, women in the audience will come up to talk and they let me know the ways I have impacted them. A lot of them self-identify and say that they share very similar stories or can identify with most of it. Others are taken back by my bravery and courage to speak my truth. At first, It wasn’t easy to get up and share the details of my trauma in public. But with some encouragement, prayer and guts, I did it. I have never felt so free in all my life. To witness the instant impact on women’s lives was deeply moving for me. Early on in my speaking, I had some training on story telling and this helped me shape my story in a way that made sense for people. Because trafficking doesn’t happen in a vacuum and for me it wasn’t a one time event, I wanted to share it in a way that highlighted my vulnerabilities, the grooming process traffickers use and the reasons why women “stay so long”. I have never once just stood up on a stage and shared the horrific details of my life. Rather, I have raised awareness, educated and delivered hope and healing to many. Best of all, my story points to the One who has saved and redeemed me! Praise Jesus!
Because of all this, I was recently nominated by 4 amazing friends for an award through Together Rising which is a non-profit that was created through the blog, momastery.com. I knew about the nomination but had forgotten about it. My friends and I made plans to meet at a local restaurant on the last Tuesday in July because my outreach ministry, Bags of Hope, was the restaurant’s “Cause” for the month with 15% of each bill getting donated to the ministry. Whenever my friends walked up to me with a big sign that read, “Love wins!!” and big smiles, I knew something was up. They excitedly announced that I was the winner of the award and presented me with two checks! One check would go directly to the ministry and the other one could be used for whatever I wished. They said.. “Take your kids to Disney.. Put a down payment for a new car!! Whatever you’d like. It’s for YOU.” I was overcome with emotion, gave them huge hugs and yes, I cried! I am still basking in the blessing. I feel even more loved and supported on this journey. I’m still not sure what I will use the money for! In the past, I made many impulsive and unwise decisions. This time around I want to be deliberate and prayerful with such a big blessing. The real reward came while I was putting my 4 year old daughter to bed that night. We were saying our prayers and she said, “Mom, you are so strong and brave. Like a Superhero!!” I smiled and kissed her on the cheek and prayed that she would go out into the world and do the same –  Inspire, Encourage and Build up Others. ToGetHerRising!
togetHerrising
© Copyright 2015. JasmineGrace. All rights reserved.
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