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Join the Fight

A little over 4 years ago I found myself yearning for that one thing I could do to make a difference. I prayed, researched and spoke to friends about where I should put my focus as a volunteer. I have always participated in small volunteer roles at church and in my community, but I wanted to really feel an emotional connection to what I was doing. For about 3 months I kept reading and hearing stories about Human Trafficking and Sex Trafficking. It made me dig deeper. My heart and mind flooded with grief, sadness and confusion about what was going on right in my backyard. Then, one day in April of 2016 I was scrolling on Facebook when an URGENT post caught my eye.  

John Clark's daughter was missing, and he was asking for the community's help in finding his child. He knew what had happened and he was stopping at nothing to find her. Seeing her face and seeing she looked just like me at 18 filled my body with a force that I could not ignore. I could have easily been her.  I was also a young church going athlete with a promising future when I was in high school. I also ended up hanging out with the wrong crowd and going places I never should have gone. I just kept seeing myself in her and knew I had to be a part of helping fight against trafficking. 

I was so thankful when I saw the news that she was found and on her way to recovery. Over the next year I helped make Go Bags with Freedom Church Alliance and research ways to help in the fight.  I was frustrated because there were not many resources and finding a place to volunteer was honestly not easy.  You would think with the internet, I would have found information right away.  Human Trafficking & Sex Trafficking just were not talked about and the victims had a bad stigma in the community. 

In May of 2017 I signed up for a GoBox class being held at my church. Each week we learned about the dark and evil world of trafficking. Each week I left sobbing in my car, knowing this is where I belonged. After hearing stories from my dear friend Rachel, John Clark, Allison, Beau Abdula, Cat French and many others over those 5 weeks helped me see there was no way I could stand idle anymore.  The last night of our GoBox classes Cat brought 2 of her girls that had recently exited the life.  One was 15 and the other 18, my heart broke for them and that night I signed up to volunteer with Rescue America.  June 27, 2017, I became an Exit Team volunteer.  My life changed forever that day.  

Being on the front lines and being the first person the survivors see when they are exiting the life is a powerful moment for them and for me. Every exit is different, but the impact is the same. Each girl I meet stays in my heart forever. Riding in the back of the car talking, praying, holding hands or just being completely silent shows survivors that we are there to help and truly LOVE them.  

We are their first physical step into a new life of recovery and a life of real meaningful relationships. Over the last year, I have also helped babysit some of the survivor's children. Those babies and kids have impacted me in so many ways. To see their smiling faces even after all they have been through brings so much joy into my life. They are also survivors. 

The last 3 years of volunteering with Rescue America has shown me God's love for us all.  No matter where we come from or what our story is, God loves each of us exactly the same. There are so many ways to volunteer in the fight against Trafficking.  My story is just a small glimpse into the ever-changing fight. I am thankful every day for the opportunity to serve those who truly need to see they are Loved.