Sex Trafficking: Her Story and Mine

Blue Dicks Flower Coon Creek 10 April 2010 They flashed by, one after another. Names. Ages. Years of rescue. Each one a girl rescued from trafficking, each one represented by a picture of a flower, each one putting humanity around the “issue” of sex trafficking.

But as they piled up, it was overwhelming. I started to pull back. And then…

I saw her name.

I scrunched down in my chair and pressed my face into the scarf in my hands. My breathing was heavy and the tears were starting to fall. I was sick deep down in the deepest pit of my stomach.

Bethany. Age 15. Rescued in 2010.

I was 15 in 2010.

This girl, this other Bethany, she and I aren’t so different. And three years ago, someone was there. Someone showed up when she needed rescue.

Now it’s our turn. It’s our turn to look into her story and see ours, and then to stand up and say, “This is not okay.” It’s time for us to show up.

When our grandchildren ask us where we were when the voiceless and vulnerable of our era needed leaders of compassion and purpose, I hope we can say that we showed up, and that we showed up on time. -Gary Haugen, International Justice Mission (quote)

Image: "Mike" Michael L. Baird,, photo