Day 18, was a notable day for our team. We crossed the border into California, said goodbye to our fond miles ridden in Oregon, and one of our girls fell off of her bike. Not the typical slow roll off a still bike while trying to either clip in or clip out, but an actual fall while riding roughly 10 MPH. Our riding group was having a phenomenal day, laughing at each other as we grew closer and closer to our resting place for the night at The Redwoods RV park in Northern California.
All of the sudden, as we were saying hello to a pasture of cows, it happened. Robyn’s front tire hit Chloe’s back tire, and before we could process what happened, Robyn was laying on the pavement, face up. At first we thought everything was okay, and that Robyn just had a small scratch on her elbow. However, as we were waiting for the SAG (support and gear van) Robyn’s head began to hurt. After a trip to the ER, Robyn was told she had a concussion. This could have happened to anyone, but it just happened to be sweet Robyn who experienced it. She wasn’t looking for it, she wasn’t being foolish, she just happened to look away from the road in front of her at an inopportune moment.
The more I thought about what happened, and how it could be anyone of our teammates with a head injury, the more I realized the same is true with human trafficking. It can happen to anyone. Just World Theory would like to convince us that it could never happen to us, or the people that we know and love, but the truth is, it could. People who end up in trafficking situations are often not seeking these situations out, yet so many people believe they have chosen the lifestyle they are living. For most people being trafficked that is simply not true.
I recently read the book, “Renting Lacy”, that gives insight into domestic minor sex trafficking. What I learned really surprised me. Often times pimps will pose as boyfriends to young girls, gaining their trust and love, until the girl is completely dependent on the pimp, eventually leading to a situation that is very harmful and far from loving. In short this book shifted my perspective on how people end up in situations in which they are being trafficked. It caused me to realize that it could happen to anyone. It could have been me, it could have been your little sister, and it could have been you.
We need to love and support survivors that we know as if they were ourselves. We need to educate ourselves and the ones we love about the realities of trafficking. To both recognize signs of trafficking near us, and to teach against common misconceptions about the realities of trafficking. Because the truth is, survivors of sex trafficking are precious humans. Humans who have experienced serious hurt. Humans that deserve love and care. And until we see them as such, we are still doing them harm.
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