At the age of 14, most girls are getting ready to enter high school, are hanging out with friends, and are dreaming about their futures. But for Karlie,* this was a far cry from the living nightmare that had become her reality. At the age of 14, she was forced to “get ready” for the incomprehensible, “hang out” with people who were her father’s age, and never knew if she would wake up the next morning to even have a future.
She was rescued from her traffickers by the police, and brought to the A21 Crisis Shelter with only the clothes on her back. Karlie* had been beaten, starved, and tortured, and as a result she barely spoke a word and was distant. After receiving a warm welcome and unconditional love, she began the journey of overcoming the brokenness of her past. After a bit of time had passed, this young girl’s confidence slowly began to rise, and she even began to smile. At the end of her duration in the A21 shelter, she told A21 staff that the time she had spent in the A21 Crisis shelter was “the best time of my life.”
One of the activities Karlie* and the other girls were able to participate in were “Dream Collages,” where they cut out photos and words and pasted them to paper, creating a visual representation of their future hopes and dreams. Ranging from an office job as a secretary, to a doctor, and from a mother to a wife, the girls were able to discuss the fact that each of them are unique, have special gifts and talents, and have a divine purpose for their lives. For Karlie* this was the first time in years that she felt the freedom to dream of a bright future.
Through the A21 student abolition program, we have had the opportunity to raise awareness about human trafficking in High schools and universities in the United States and Australia, educate students about the dangers of human trafficking in the Ukraine, and equip students to make a difference around the globe. The average age that people are trafficked into forced prostitution is only 12-14 years old, and we have a responsibility to ensure that this upcoming generation does not fall victim or add to the future demand for trafficked victims. Through education and awareness, we have the ability to help prevent human trafficking and inspire young people to be a part of a cause that is worth fighting for. When students realize that people their own age are trafficked, or the age of their brothers and sisters, they begin to realize that they can make an impact right now, right where they are. If you are a student, or know of any students who want to be involved with the A21 Student Abolition Program, sign up today to become a Student Abolitionist!
Thank you so much for your continued support and partnership as we work together to see the injustice of human trafficking abolished.
* For the protection of victims of human trafficking in the care of THE A21 CAMPAIGN, all names and details pertaining to specific cases are always changed.
Words and pics thanks to The A21 Campaign