When many of us were young we were told that we could do anything and be anything; all we have to do is believe. As we grow older we are told that hard work and determination will earn us the American dream. Our dreams may seem challenging or even farther out of reach as we age. However, as average American children, the idea that we can better ourselves and achieve dreams remains: it inspires us, motivates us and drives us from one self-improvement technique to the next. This is our reality.
Then, there is another reality. There are children that are raised believing that becoming a pimp, a high level gangster, or maybe a rapper is the ultimate dream. Girls are taught that the more they can flaunt their bodies, lure in a guy, or find some skewed level of power in their lives – the more valuable they are. Twisted versions of power, family, love and belonging are instilled in generation after generation.
This past week we met a beautiful girl being sold on the streets of Los Angeles. This beautiful girl stood with her body almost fully exposed. She asked us to pray that she would have the courage to better her life. She explained that she once had dreams to go to college and pursue a degree in Criminal Justice. Now she finds herself a victim of tragic injustice: the injustice of the violation of her body, her mind and her very identity.
This girl was so incredibly sweet. Despite her situation she had such a childlikeness and sweetness about her. My heart instantly felt such a deep love for her; a love beyond my own human ability. I truly believe that God allowed me to feel His heart for her for a moment; this precious, beautiful, child of God. My heart ached as I listened to her dreams and listened to her speak of the bondage and fear that holds her captive. Because I know that God sees her and longs for her as His precious child.
It’s girls like this that inspire us to dream big as a ministry. To believe, to work hard and to remain determined. Ministry in this area has proven time and time again to be challenging and not for the “faint of heart”. But they matter. Each woman, man, and child affected by this twisted injustice matters. If we only ever impact one life, then we have made a difference.
Over and over again we meet girls with similar stories. They don’t know what they would do other than allow their bodies to be sold over and over. Many of them have criminal records from being arrested for prostitution or drugs. The average age a girl is recruited into sexual exploitation is 12 years old. That means many of these girls have limited education. In their reality- they are stuck. Leaving the life and pursuing hope seems impossible.
We are already connected with other organizations, safe homes, and rehabilitation centers that are making radical impacts in these girls lives; but as a ministry we feel called to offer a next step. We dream of providing vocational training and job opportunities for these women after they have been rescued. We want to see victims of trafficking not only find their feet but thrive in life and live out their dreams. WE believe that we have a God who restores lives and who heals. So why would these daughters deserve anything less?