Today there was some serious sentencing of a group of men who made the choice to internally trafficked young girls.
This rare event of real jail sentences, rare event of men being not just arrested but call to full account.
This rare event of some justice for girls who are prostituted, is bringing out my grief, and reminding me of how invisible internal trafficking is made.
Girls in most countries are being internally trafficked on a mass scale – many are being tricked, mentally abused and groomed by boys, men and women that they believe they can and should trust.
This is the deep tragedy of internal trafficking – it is the ripping away of that simple child’s view that you can and should trust.
I was internally trafficked – and my heart still aches with the breaking down of that simple need to trust.
Many girls that are vulnerable to internal trafficking were like me – they had been abused sexually, physically or mentally even before meeting the person who groomed them for prostitution.
You would think that abuse would make you not believe in trust, you would think it would harden your heart to any belief in hope or that there a thing as love.
You would think that.
But as a fellow exited woman once wrote to me – The reason we were such easy targets was that we appeared hard, but inside there was a terrible innocence.
That was the child in us – that was the child we really were, but we had to kill that child to the outside world.
Look and see with a clear eye – most girls who are internally trafficked in just Western countries are between the ages of 12-15, many are younger, some as young as 6.
They are children, and as children they should have the right to be innocent, the right to make mistakes and be safe, the right to explore without danger, the right to know how to trust and be trusted.
Girls who are internally trafficked have all that savagely stolen from them.
I will say as someone who somehow – after 14 years of being in and out of the sex trade – manage to exit, that most of what was stolen cannot be recovered.
You can re-build your life and forge a new way of being – but broken trust, stolen innocence and being made into a commodity is always a shadow.
I highly praised all groups in all countries that reach in to get these girls out of prostitution before they become too poisoned and embedded by the sex trade.
I entered aged 14, and if groups like Barnardos or Children’s Society had done their wonderful work to bring young women out of prostitution in my days – I know their compassion and expertise would have change my life.
Please wherever you are reading, find and support the many groups internationally who are doing fabulous and very practical work to get so many girls out of the sex trade.
That work is saving lives and giving many beautiful girls real hope, and the ability to know it is ok to trust.