“I’ve known since I was 16 years old that I wanted to work with survivors who had experienced trafficking; I’ve just known that and felt called to that. So finding the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking was amazing – the Coalition serves both adults and kids, and I work directly with kids. The Department of Child Services will call, or a teacher will call, and alert us that there’s a child at risk for trafficking. I’ll meet with the kid one on one for what we call a counseling session, and we work either with the family or the foster care facility where the child stays, so that I can meet them where they’re most comfortable. And then we just talk, and we form a relationship.
A lot of these girls – mostly girls, thought I do have a few boys I work with – they don’t really have people in their life who they can count on. People continuously make false promises to them, and fail them. So I’m a trusted adult that steps in and says ‘Hey, you matter. You’re important. There’s hope in the world; let’s find that together.’
And the thing is, a lot of traffickers pray on the hope of their victims. They promise a better life, wonderful things, vacations, and use that hope to take advantage of them – but we do the opposite. We use their hope to empower them. Instead of promising them a perfect life, we give them the tools to decide what their best life looks like, and we help them get there.”