She was so vulnerable in sharing her story with this group of people, in an effort to bring awareness to this international issue, and to remind attendees of the important work the Junior League of Portland is doing in the community of survivors. She wasn’t a “bad kid” growing up, was involved in a church and youth group, and eventually fell for an older boyfriend. These things align with my experiences, and she was so relatable. The older boyfriend was taking care of their living expenses, and eventually asked her to have sex with one of his friends. He told her she owed him since he provided for them. So, she did it. She didn’t feel good about doing that, and these requests soon became demands and happened more frequently. She felt she had to do these things to keep her boyfriend happy, and to “contribute” to the household. Eventually her pictures were on the dark web, and she was available for sale.
Her boyfriend discouraged her from spending time with her family and friends, he showed a lot of jealousy with her spending time with people other than him, or who he told her she could spend time with.
She had reached out to one of her old youth group leaders and expressed that she was having a hard time, and needed help. But not long after, she was out of contact again. He knew something was wrong in this situation, and started “looking” for her online. Eventually he was able to find her with the help of law enforcement and she was able to be rescued from the life she was living.
When I think of someone being trafficked I imagine a van pulling up on a street and someone being grabbed. That’s not usually how this happens. Most of the time victims are trafficked by someone they know and are close to. Traffickers can be anyone- boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, grandparents, or friends.
After I heard her story, I had the realization that this could happen to ANYONE! That night my husband and I discussed what we learned at the event, and were both in shock that this is happening to people all over the world. That night we decided to try to do what we can to help those that have experienced human trafficking.
Since 2012, the Junior League of Portland has sponsored an annual Essentials Drive to support survivors of human trafficking. These items are distributed among local non-profit partners and are available for women that need these basic items. The organizations that the Junior League of Portland works with provide immediate and long-term care for survivors and others experiencing hardships.
The Portland Girl is proud to support this effort and invites our clients to join us as we collect essentials! We are accepting new items at the studio, so you can bring them in at your upcoming appointment during the month of March, or you can purchase items through the link below, and they will be shipped directly to the Junior League of Portland.