“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again you did not know.”
National Sex Trafficking Hotline: 888-373-7888
New Jersey Human Trafficking Hotline: 877-986-7534
For further information, please visit Love True’s website at www.love_true.org
Why Does Wild Heart Support Love True?
In 2005, my daughter and I went with a group on an overseas trip to a third world country. We had the privilege to bring love, encouragement, gifts and financial resources to many in need. We visited a medical clinic, leprosy colony, helped feed and clothe women, children and orphans in several villages. We visited a home where children diagnosed with HIV or AIDS were cared for, while also seeing many others in need. Spending time with these loving men, women and children and seeing their pain and struggles first hand is an eye opening experience. My heart exploded with a natural desire to help everyone, everywhere, with all the resources I could find. And while one may help in multiple areas, I kept thinking about the one area that I was called to bring awareness to and support long term. For me, that area is human trafficking.
It began while sitting with our group at our home base. The organization leader in this country came out of his office. He pointed at me and three others and said, “You, you and you two. Come with me now, quickly.“ Out to the car we went, placing many newly purchased blankets into the jeep. I still had no idea where we were going or what was happening.
However, once at our destination, I entered through some gated walls and all was explained. I stood in the midst of about fifty 12- year old boys who had been sold into slavery and were now rescued. They lived safely within this gated community. The home was kept a secret at all times and unfortunately they had to move often, so the boys “owners” did not try to find their location and steal them back. This was a real threat of danger as these children were looked upon as property and a source of income. They were forced to beg and steal while being unjustly treated.
While the blankets had been given out, we also walked around listening to the children’s stories. In one instance, I stopped and noticed a boy with scars on the inside of his one arm. I counted 12 lined scars in a row. I asked our interpreter, “What has happened?” I was told, “ His job was to go out on the streets and beg for money. If he did not bring back the designated amount assigned, he was punished. Every lined scar was made by a knife dug into his arm as a reminder for each time he did not bring enough money back.”
I can’t even describe the emotions I felt as this truth was spoken. I hugged my daughter who was the exact same age as this boy who stood before us. My soul felt as if it had been shattered into pieces. How could this happen? Why is this happening? Where are his parents? I demanded answers. Yet, the answers were startling. Because the area is so poor, many parents sell their children into slavery. The group leaders learned some hard facts as they risk their own lives to rescue these children from slavery. At first they began locating the children’s parents and brought them back home. Yet, to their dismay they realized the parents only resell the children back into slavery. Out of this realization, the child rescue camp was born. Now the boys are raised here until they are older and strong enough to live on their own.
This experience exposed some hard truths and changed my life forever. At first, I began to support overseas victims. However, the more I read, the more I became aware of the fact that America has its own human trafficking crisis. I attended some local seminars and found out there is a minimum of 100,000 American children being used for sex slavery every year. I was stunned not only to learn that the average age of a girl enslaved is 13 years old, but this child enslavement is happening here in my home state of New Jersey!
I am thankful Love True not only addresses this issue through prevention and awareness, but is a place that offers refuge and restoration. I believe in the mission of Love True, which is why Wild Heart supports this organization. We stand beside them, joining in the fight to help end sex slavery in America, one life at a time.