Over thirty years ago, when I first began writing Redeeming Love, I put three pictures on my bulletin board where I could see them as I worked. All three were of the same little girl; the first, a school picture of a pretty little 6-8 year old girl; the second, the same child, terrified and about to be raped in a pornographic film; the third, the same girl, at age twelve, with a sultry look and dead eyes. In a way, I wrote the book for her. It wasn’t until recent years I learned that sex trafficking is going on – and at pandemic levels in America and around the world.
A friend, Nita Belles who heads up In Our Backyard in Oregon and has been on the front lines of fighting sex trafficking for years, asked me to speak at the International Conference on Prostitution. I had no idea what of value I could offer such a group. They would know far more than I possibly could. I had no expertise to offer these frontline fighters and certainly didn’t want to waste their time. Nita told me they wanted to hear the story behind Redeeming Love. She then told me many of these organizations were familiar with my novel and some were using it as a tool in reaching sex-trafficked survivors. The conference participants were coming from countries all around the world. It offered me a lifetime opportunity to meet many face-to-face and hear their stories of what is going on and what can be done to stop this horrific and ever-growing criminal activity.
I attended as many sessions as possible and learned far more than I ever wanted to know about the horrors that human beings can do to one another – while at the same time I was incredibly inspired by these men and women who are on the frontlines of the battle against sex trafficking. This crime is not just in the U.S.A., but across Europe, the Middle and Far East. It is a hidden global pandemic far beyond what we are experiencing with COVID19. The virus kills. So does sex trafficking. Women and children are considered “product”, easily available (through abduction and grooming), their lives expendable.
Becoming aware is the first step to fighting predators. 300,000 American children are considered “at risk for sex exploitation” each year.
For those who want to protect their children from predators, I recommend Seduced by Opal S. Singleton. Nita Belles book In Our Backyard is full of valuable information and useful tips in spotting a trafficking operation in our hometowns. Listen to Mira Sorvino’s presentations on YouTube. Do an internet search on ministries and organizations active in your area. They are always in need of volunteers and supporters. Even a call will give you the information you need to protect your loved ones, and your call will be an encouragement to the little-known heroes on the front line of this battle to rescue and restore lives.