Two years ago, when we moved my sister out to L.A., we spent the night in a cute hotel in an adorable older neighborhood. It was a nice stay. The rooms were quiet and clean and we had fun swimming in the pool with our kiddos. Nothing too unusual.
When we woke up in the morning to leave, I remember seeing something that made me take notice: two beautiful teen-age girls, dressed like models straight out of a teen fashion mag, both in dark shades. Not a smile between them. They were accompanied by two rather serious looking young men in dark sunglasses as well and they all got in to a very shiny, very new SUV with chrome rims.
My husband and I have dreamed of owning an SUV for our crew. This SUV would put our 1999 Suburban dream to shame.
They just seemed so out of place. And as I sat and wondered what the story was with this group of young people (Were they a band? Some actors? Perhaps trust-fund babies, hanging out at the Comfort Inn and Suites with the rest of us normal people?) my husband asked me an unforgettable question:
Didn’t I agree they were most likely prostitutes?
Punched. In. Gut.
I am a super gullible girl from the mid-west. In my world, this kind of stuff only happens in the movies. I mean, obviously, I know it happens. You see it on the news, read stories. But to see these girls in real life, to see the absolute hopelessness that hovered over them. My usual, unrealistic, hell-bent on fixing self wanted to drive back and sweep them up and bring them back out to MN with me. Give them another new beginning. Teach them to garden. How to cook from scratch. To help them take time to learn who they are again. To teach them that there is hope. That they are worth something so much more than this life they are living now. What I would hope someone would do for my beautiful daughters, were they to so completely lose their way.
It made me want to talk to those young men. To ask them if this is who they really wanted to be. Guardians to a gate of absolute evil. Of course it isn’t, I would say, in a loving and motherly way that would somehow find that last ember of who these men had been when they were 7 years old. Back when they were their momma’s boys. Back when they wanted to be super heroes and policemen. I wanted to dig around in their seemingly heartless souls and find a shred of decency. A sliver of their good selves still alive and breathing.
I realize this is a very simplistic view. I realize I have watched one too many Sally Field movies. I understand that my efforts would most likely be wasted.
I can’t help myself. It’s the part of me that must grip hope tightly. With all my strength. Far-fetched or not.
It kills me to think that there are so many young people out there that are suffering through their lives in this way. A life that should have been a gift. It kills me to see the light of hope has gone out and they have surrendered to the darkest part of this world. I hate with everything in me that there are people who would take advantage of these young lives and use them in such a heartless way.
Completely void of dignity.
I’m not sure which would be worse: to be kept in such a vicious cycle by mental chains or real, physical chains.
This article hurts. It honestly makes me want to lock all the doors, turn off the TV, close the curtains, plug my ears and hum loudly.
It also makes me want to be vigilant and rescue every little girl, boy woman and man who has been forced into this world of depravity. I want to join the SWAT team. Knock down doors, beat up bad guys and set prisoners free.
But that’s not reality.
Reality makes me say that somehow I want to give a sliver of hope. An ember of life.
With a more realistic mindset, my friend Wes Halula is making a movie about the hopeful side of human trafficking. He is going to focus on the rescuing part, which is a beautiful thing rising out of such ugliness.
He is in the midst of raising funds to get this movie going. If you’d like to help, check out this link. He explains it better than I can.
Maybe we can pump a little goodness out into the world yet.