One of the worst atrocities that can ever happen to a mother is to have something terrible happen to her child outside of her knowledge or control such as her child being: kidnapped, die from an accident or illness, or be sexually abused in any shape or form. So when the “Truckers Against Trafficking” learning truck drove into our church’s parking lot, it was a difficult, but a necessary topic to face. My belief is atrocities such as “Sex trafficking” can only change through ending ignorance and focusing on education.
After learning the truck was not too graphic for my daughter, we decided to jump aboard and to educate ourselves first of what is happening in our own backyard. Many think sex trafficking is solely happening outside of the US, but unfortunately approximately 17, 500 boys and girls each year in the US are either being kidnapped or leave home voluntarily and forced into child trafficking. As the truck taught us, the hustlers use various ploys such as gifts. money, and jewelry to recruit their victims until they are trapped. The question is how do we stop this from happening? Well, a great organization called “Truckers Against Trafficking” is determined to make a difference. Since truckers are on highways and truck stops across the United States, they are in a good position to identify children who need rescuing. I must admit it was hard to not leave the truck without a heavy heart. As a mother, you can’t help but put your own child in the shoes of these children who have been terribly traumatized and just want to fall to the ground and cry. Sadly, many of the children are abused prior to entering the sex trade; which makes the stories even more devastating. The children, in the stories we heard, felt like they are forgotten children and we can not forget these children. We can no longer deny this awful, dehumanizing sex trade is happening in our own neighborhoods. With “Truckers Against Trafficking”, you can donate, volunteer, spread the word, and share literature. I believe it is all of our responsibility to stop this global atrocity. As my daughter learned today, we can all make a difference.
The second hand benefit of walking through the truck was my daughter was first very quiet, which is not like her, but could tell from her body language she knew this was important. Ryley is now old enough she can read, so, she read many of the stories on her own. It was not until we left the truck and walked to our own car that Ryley started with her barrage of questions. She was concerned and confused in some cases, but I explained the different stories to her with hopes she will never have to face what these girls have had to face at such a young age. In the car, we discussed the importance of stranger danger, of not buying into the ploys of the hustlers, what to do if someone approaches her, and of being safe. I got a big hug from my daughter as she said, “Mama, thank you for taking care of me.” She understood immediately the fears of these children and the importance of remaining in a safe environment. Unfortunately, today’s world is a crazy world, so, it is all of our jobs to keep our children safe. My hope is the exhibit impacted my daughter enough that she wants to continue to make a difference. For today, we donated and were placed on volunteer lists, but look forward to playing my part in continuing to “pay it forward.”