It has been a long road to becoming an abolitionist, hard pretty much every step of the way but rewarding in ways you can’t imagine.
In 1993, God called me to homeless outreach in a quite spectacular way which changed the direction of my life. I was downtown with a friend from out of town, showing them all the best Seattle had to offer during the Christmas season. A girl approached us, inadequately dressed and clearly cold; the clouds were heavy with pending snow and her coat was thin.
She told us she was homeless and held out a newspaper called Real Change. She explained that she wouldn’t beg, or sell her body, and so she sold newspapers — written by homeless people — as a way to earn a living.
She said if she sold enough of them, she could afford to get a hotel room to sleep warmly; safe from the danger of freezing to death in some alley, recycling dumpster, or squat. I pulled out a couple of bucks and handed them to her. As she took the money, I saw that her hands were nearly blue from the bitter cold.
I looked down at my brand new cobalt blue gloves that were part of a hat, scarf and glove set I’d recently bought.
I heard God say: “Give her your gloves.”
“But God, they’re new.”
“They’re Dollar Store, give them to her.”
So I did and her grateful reaction shamed me; as she moved in for a hug, something broke inside me.
At home later that night, I looked at the huge number of coats I owned; my closet was crammed and many were hand-me-downs from my mother and sister…too big and not my style. They both shopped at expensive stores and they were expensive coats.
Here comes God again, determined to get His point across to me. “Take these coats downtown and give them to homeless people.”
“But they’ll just get them dirty and ruin them! THESE aren’t Dollar Store, God, these coats are NAME BRAND!”
God was not impressed with my American value system and something in me broke again. But this breaking went on for four hours in a painful prayer session where my shallow, hard heart was shattered. I came up out of that prayer session an activist. I started doing street outreach in 1993 and still do it today. Homeless teens break my heart the worst…and they are at SUCH risk on the streets for being trafficked. Most runaway (or throwaway) children get approached by a pimp within the first 12 hours on the street.
In 2001, I became acquainted with a battered woman while working as the Executive Assistant to the Publisher of Word Publishing in Nashville. Big job at important Christian book publishing company…big deal.
Don’t get me wrong, working there changed me as a writer, was a great place to work and a true blessing for me. It was the last “official” job I held because from there I started my own web design, marketing and event planning business. But Melissa, in the grand scheme of life, was more important than the job.
Melissa was the temporary receptionist who soon shared with me that she was an alcoholic with an abusive boyfriend. We became friends, my eyes were opened and eventually, I helped Melissa get away from the boyfriend after he snapped her forearm across his knee and broke it like a twig.
I worked with battered women for several years, along with homeless outreach, and then moved back to Seattle where God had another social injustice waiting for me…human trafficking and homeless teens at high risk for being trafficked.
Knowledge of human trafficking came in 2003 by doing a website for a ministry, Zoe International, that rescued young children from sex trafficking in Thailand — at great peril to their own lives as the traffickers sought to stop—and kill—rescuers who took away their “product.” I’ve been spreading the word, and raising money for the fight, ever since. In 2011, my son and I came up with an idea called the Neo Exodus Revolution after doing some bible study and a dream vision I had. These are some of the graphics that came from that…and it seems that the time to start it is now!
Ironically enough, I’ve discovered over the years that homelessness, addiction, battering, prostitution, domestic violence, rape and human trafficking are all part of the same problem in society…the devaluation of human beings and sociopathic people who believe humans are ok to buy and sell; use and abuse; hurt and beat, and throw away when they’re used up or dead (often a violent death, drug overdose or suicide.) It was as if God was showing me one thing at a time and then one day I realized they’re all connected.
When humans get used like animals as labor slave, worked like mules 18 hours a day, 7 days a week for NO salary, life is an endless grind. For sex trafficking victims, they are raped night and day, again working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are routinely brutalized by their traffickers. For them, it’s an endless, hellish nightmare.
Too many trafficking victims are discarded like trash after they’ve been used up — or they die at the hands of their abusers — traffickers and clients. They also commit suicide and suffer severe emotional problems if they are fortunate enough to escape their captors. Trafficking has no regard for age, sex or social status —- vulnerable people are subjected to this horror every day and in every country.
My particular calling is to female victims of sex trafficking but I also abhor the injustices done to men and boys as well…sex trafficking happens to males too and they’re more often subject to the brutalities of labor trafficking and forced into being “soldiers” including child soldiers.
I do my small part fight these injustices primarily by spreading the word. My heart yearns to see programs all over America–and the world–where victims have a safe place to live, a place and programs where they can learn new skills, regain a sense of self, and receive love, acceptance and therapeutic support. We want to see them leave victimhood behind; to learn, create, love, grow and thrive as they become the beautiful women that God created them to be.