not your every day valentine

There were no chocolates or flowers from my beloved on Valentine’s Day this year.  Instead, he gave me a gift of time = research.  He knows my heart.  Priceless.

He gave me a modern day slavery map.  Yes, you read that right, slavery happening right here, right now, in my country, in my state.  Because I am a mother of a daughter, I immediately clicked onto her home town and found a reported incident ON HER STREET!  I scrolled down and found the link to the police report and learned of a precious, barely 18 year old that had been lured into prostitution straight out of high school.  Two weeks earlier, she had been sitting in English and math classes in her high school.  She left home after graduation to get out on her own, and the first people she met lured her astray.  She was beaten into submission and trapped until the police “liberated” her by arresting her.  Yes, you read that right too.

The up side is, that young Ashley was given a second chance before she was charged with prostitution.   She is now in a shelter, receiving the education and counseling she needs to recover from her trauma.

The U.S. Department of State estimates that 15,000 to 18,000 women and girls are trafficked in the U.S. each year. Up to 300,000 may be at risk because they live in poverty, have a family history of abuse or are vulnerable for other reasons.

Every captive is a person; every survivor has a story.  The developers of the SlaveryMap show the world that slaves exist among us. Restaurants and fields, construction sites and brothels, suburbs and cities: all are home to victims of trafficking in the United States and abroad. Twenty-seven million slaves in the world, and they want to find them, share their stories and educate us that we can no longer shut our eyes to what is happening …  on my daughter’s street.

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