Like many, my passion to end human trafficking started well before I began a job in the field. I watched the documentaries, read the books, and even attended conferences on trafficking and sexual exploitation. I even had some experience working with victims of sexual exploitation prior to my role at Rescue Houston. However, looking back, I do not think any book, movie, or conference could have prepared me for what I’d face.
My first few weeks at Rescue Houston included training, role play situations, and shadowing. Though it was overwhelming, I was so ready to work with survivors! I remember the first young lady I met so vividly. I simply came to bring her something to eat and clothes.
Nothing could have prepared me.
I could barely speak. I just wanted to soak it all in.
A few things happened that day —
First, my love for her grew immediately and significantly. Second, she walked all over me and I gave her whatever she wanted (this changed pretty quickly after that!). Third, I realized the severity of survivors’ stories and experiences were going to affect me more than I anticipated. Fourth, it hit me how slow and steady this work would be. And lastly, I desired to fix everything she had been through!
Now a year and a half into this work, a few things hold the same, but some have also developed or changed. I still love that young lady and many others with a special love that is indescribable. I now have confidence and lots of discernment (only because God provided this) when working with survivors. The reality of self-care and balance in my life is so crucial and important. The survivors’ life experiences are heavy and heart-breaking. The work is definitely slow and steady! Lastly, I cannot fix them. My job is to empower, support, and provide avenues in which survivors can survive and find a new way of life.