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.

Why I share my story of Surviving Sex Trafficking

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Today, one of the most rewarding things in my life, is getting to share my story with others that haven’t figured out theirs yet. I have come to know that when I share in a transparent and vulnerable way – it gives others a chance to do the same. And when we finally tell someone else about the prior abuse or the trafficking we have endured, we open to the door to healing. The enemy of our souls uses shame and silence to keep us sick. Only bad things grow in the dark. It is when we shine the light down on those deep places, can we finally heal. That is why I help give women a voice. A chance to speak up. A opportunity to take the healing as it comes.

Here is one survivor’s journal entry from a group we did a while back. She gave us permission to share her powerful writing. And while she said awesome things about me, that is not why I am sharing it. I want you to focus on her feelings and her revelations.

“Today is a wonderful day. I’m at the program and this amazing woman came to share her story about recovery, sex trafficking and prostitution. She talked about her “pimp” and the grooming process. And the shame & violence. I am so amazed by her courage and strength and vulnerability to share some of the most shameful moments of her life with a room full of women. She told my story.

 She knows what I’ve been through. The feeling of being tainted or dirty. The feeling that no one would ever love me again. That I am not pretty or beautiful like I used to be before I was a prostitute or in the sex trade.

She talked about the tricks and about how we are made out to be dirty hoes but they are just being guys. And how the stigma is so sick. I feel like God has put her in my path for a reason. I feel like I can take so much from her wisdom and learn from it. I am completely impressed by her. I feel such a huge connection with her. I hope I can email and stay in touch.

She has wrote a book about her diary entries- the 5 yrs she was stuck in the trade of sex trafficking. She brought us each a copy. I can’t tell you how happy I am. I love this woman. I told her that I’m working with a trauma specialist. She told me I’m brave and courageous and I am doing good working on my trama. She has been so encouraging. I remembered this one time that my pimp left me sick because He wasn’t getting any responses to his ad on backpage so I had to turn a trick before he got me off “E” and I was pucking all over the place. And he stuck my face in the puke. I’m full of these stories. I feel so broken and when I think of these or have flashbacks he makes me feel so disgusting and gives me anxiety.”

 

And this my friends, is why we write and give women a chance to share their stories. 

 

 

 

©2018. All Rights Reserved. Jasmine Grace.

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Lifting Our Voices

“A Day Out of the life – Looking Back & Moving Forward, Together”

PTSD is short for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and this an illness that people suffer from. As for me, I struggle with this everyday. There was something traumatic that happened in the lives of those impacted by this when they were younger or even older that was so impactful that it changed their lives. It affects your dreams, and the sounds that are around you. Anything that is out of the ordinary makes you jumpy. As for me, if you enter a room from an angle that I cannot see you in my peripheral vision, that affects me as well. That will cause me anxiety and that is something that I also have to deal with everyday. I have lived at Amirah for over a year now and the doorbell still makes me jump and scream when it goes off as a result of my PTSD.
When it comes to sex trafficking, people really look at it from a movie’s point of view because really that’s the only thing they have to base it off of. The movie Pretty Woman
is the best example I could provide. I wish I could tell you it’s like that, but it is not like that at all. There is no fun involved whatsoever, and once you are doing it regularly your pimp will provide you with some kind of drug. That drug will benefit him because he can control you more, and as for you….it will help you to block the pain. This is not something that you can do and be happy with day after day. You would need something to take your mind to another world while you still had no choice but to continue to do what you’re made to do; to make money for someone else! When you have a pimp, you have no choice but to work and to constantly make money. It never stops and the pain never goes away.
Recovery for me will be a lifelong process because it does not just go away, and sobriety and inner strength are things that you cannot lose sight of. Recovery is hard because you have to think of how long you used and numbed everything that you did not want to feel. Now you get to feel them and look back at those years with a clear mind and see how bad your situation was.                                                                                                I write this having no idea how or why I am alive to be telling people this! When you are lost and trapped in this tunnel, you have no clue how to get out, and you really don’t care so much about yourself or how important you are. I can say that I have been clean and sober for over a year, and it is possible that I survived because I was that girl that did not want to live like that and was looking for that way out. Now I look back at the old me while being in this program and I’m in awe of how far I’ve come. I care a lot about my recovery, but I know that it takes a lot of work and it is not always easy. To me, it is all about putting up a fight and being willing to change your life for the better. Life is like a rollercoaster; you will have your highs and your lows. Even when you fall, it’s about how you pick yourself back up. Life in recovery does not just happen overnight; it might take a year or longer. You need medical insurance, a doctor, a counselor, and you will probably have some medications that you will have to take. Getting back into normal life can be scary and it was for me, but I did it. Now I ride my Ferrari, so to speak, everyday to work.
My goal for 2017 would be to get my life back on track. I want to get a car, and have my own place that I can call home. I want to help as many victims just like me, and let them know that they are not alone, and there are people that do care and want to help. I would love to go on a mission through my church and to help spread the word of God! I pray that this is my year to come where I know what I’m suppose to do with my life. I’m a survivor myself and I’m just getting my toes wet…..I may have been knocked down but I got back up, and I always will. I am grateful for the help I have received, and I’m proud of myself for accepting it.

Authored by: Love

©2018. Jasmine Grace. All Rights Reserved.

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