When we think of a young girl being forced into prostitution, the first thing that comes to our mind is that scene from the movie Taken. The scene is enveloped around two rosy-cheeked and ‘the world is my playground’ girls giggling their way through a well-kept airport terminal, with their whole lives laid out before them. We think this can only happen in a worst-case scenario with a cleverly schemed plan and a brutal capture by the Albanian mob. While this technique of luring these girls into trafficking still happens in our world, we have found that this is not typical for most cases in Georgia.

The victims of human trafficking aren’t just hopping on the local Marta bus to see the latest show at the Fox, only to be abducted by the creepy bearded man smoking a cigarette on the side street. As talked about in the prior blog, The Runaways, these girls are coming from impoverished homes where their needs, physical and emotional, are not being met. This is why these girls are running away. They are looking for an emotional connection, an adult who is going to put a strong-arm around their shoulders and say, “It’s going to be OK.” Since many of these girls have been raised in homes of broken families and with strained relationships with their parents, they tend not to trust adults. And they crave to have that trusting relationship.

After they have mustered up the courage to leave home, they realize that they have not planned for this glorious event of running away. After the hype and romanticized idea of ‘something better’ fades away, they realize that they need help. This is the hot spot for predators, the Pimps, where they have the opportunity to swoop in as the hero. Repainting the picture of pimps of this era, I need you to know they are not the soiled and unkempt men we see in the movies. They are outfitted in well-tailored suits, generally residing in high-paying clubs and dining at elegant restaurants. Pimps pose as the ultimate caregiver and protector, projected in a romantic, flowery, and secure relationship. They see the vulnerability and offer a strong-arm around the girls’ shoulders. They promise to provide them with a job, money, a home, and most importantly, an invitation into a loving and caring relationship with an older adult. In one instant, everything these girls have been silently craving is handed to them on a silver platter.

Then, all of a sudden, just as quickly as their innocence is given to them, it is snatched right from them. In the world we live in, horrible instances like this happen everyday. The most common way that we, the advocates for justice can get discouraged is by throwing up our hands and surrendering to the fact that nothing can be done. Today, I will stand firmly eye-to-eye with you and say that statement is simply not true. There are multiple ways to get involved and fight for these young girls and women, and I will dedicate the next post to telling you how.

***Post number three will be entitled “The Escape,” and will discuss how Wellspring Living is advocating for the rescue, rehabilitation, and renewal of these girls***