As a little girl I had big dreams of all the possibilities that would await me when I grew up. I hoped that one day I’d meet my prince who would love me, protect me, and we would live happily ever after!
But unfortunately none of my dreams and hopes came true. What did come true is I did find a prince, but we or I didn’t get to have the happily-ever-after.
What I did get was abuse, being violated in ways that no woman or child should ever have to feel. I was told I was nothing and that I could be replaced, no one cares about you, you’re filthy, you’re disgusting, you’re a retard, I own you, but most importantly, I can make you disappear and no one would ever find you!
There are many different forms of exploitation that now I can see in my story, such as being groomed to sell drugs, or recruiting other girls to sell drugs, and if we came short we or I paid with sex or sexual acts.
There was also trading sex for drugs, food, a place to stay, having laundry washed, to pay my rent, and ultimately to save my life.
Sexual exploitation just doesn’t go on in other countries or in certain neighbourhoods. It’s happening in your own back yard. When I was sexually exploited, I never knew there were places such as the SA Foundation dedicated to helping women just like me.
Before coming in to the SA Foundation, I never knew what love was, I had never experienced unconditional love! Love to me was violent, it was rape, confinement and forced….
The life I have today is a testament to the work that the SA Foundation and God do in each woman’s life! Today I am currently working as a staff member, valued employee, with the same men and women who helped me become unexploited and free.
Postscript from SA Foundation Staff:
This anonymous story was written by a previous program participant, now a staff member, at the SA (Servants Anonymous) Foundation. The SA Foundation offers a front-line long-term recovery program for sexually exploited women and their children in Vancouver, BC, which also serves as the training and internship center for our international partners. For more information, you may visit www.safoundation.com.
Upon the Reformed Perspective editor’s inquiry, we at the SA Foundation talked about the best way to help readers know what do with this story. What do you do with this information? How do you protect the people you love from such harm? How do we as Christ’s church reach out to and help those who have been abused, enslaved and exploited?
What if you are a victim, or know a victim?
Truly, digesting a story like the one we just shared with you is both hard and hope inspiring.
It’s hard to hear this firsthand account of what this woman went through from the time she was a little girl. At the same time, the story gives a real sense of hope. Women and children who have suffered horrifying abuse and exploitation do not need to be stuck there forever.
One of the reasons our Lord Jesus came into this world, one of the purposes for which he was anointed by God, was “to proclaim good news to the poor…, to proclaim liberty to the captives…, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18-19)
Jesus sent his Spirit at Pentecost to equip his people to carry on his work in this world.
By the power of his Spirit and Word, the SA Foundation staff helps churches and Christians to fulfill their God-given task to “proclaim and bring liberty to captives.” We regularly put on awareness and fundraising events for churches. These events not only educate churches and communities, but also enable them to partner with us in helping set free women and children who have been enslaved in sexual exploitation.
We also offer leadership training for churches through our Servant Leadership Training Center, to further equip pastors, elders, deacons and church communities to provide pastoral care and mercy to those who have been badly hurt and are in need of extensive recovery.
Although on one level no churchgoer is any different from such women and children, since we are all broken people and sinners in need of God’s grace, yet there are specific complexities and opportunities that churches ought to understand as they aim to welcome, disciple and be blessed by such women and their children.
If you would like the SA Foundation to do a presentation at your church, or would like more information, you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Our website also provides lots of informative reading and resources for those who would like to become more aware of the modern-day travesty of sexual exploitation and human trafficking, and better equipped to bring God’s justice, love and mercy to the enslaved and oppressed.
– Theo L, Associate of Mentorship and Community Development, SA Foundation