The Slave Across the Street: A True Story of How an American Teen Survived the World of Human Trafficking
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Located in: Columbus, Ohio
Submitted: November 19, 2009
Tell us a little about yourself. I am a single mom with three children. As I wrote my story, I was raising them single handedly, working full time and going to Grad school full time as well. So I guess I am a go getter, type A person. I was brought up Catholic and have always been a believer. Though my knowledge of the bible and love for His word has grown over the years. I have been a social worker for over 20 years and recently quit to share my story publicly all over the US. I also am the Director of Awareness and Training for Gracehaven, a Christian group home for trafficked teens that I am helping to open in Ohio.
What was your motivation behind this project? The book came from the journal I kept during the dark times. When no one wanted to hear my story, and I lost my voice, it allowed me to 'get it out of me'. The more I became aware of the fact that I wasn't the only one this happened to, the more motivated I was to have parents and teachers (and students) open their eyes to this epidemic crime. It became a tool to hopefully save another young girl from enduring what I did so many years ago.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? I would like them to walk away first and foremost knowing that we are all capable of healing with God's love. He gives us strength to prevail and overcome our trials and tribulations. Also that we can only have Hope by not losing our Faith. I also want readers to know that anyone can potentially be trafficked, regardless of where you live and how much money you make. And I want teachers and parents to be equipped with the knowledge of what trafficking is and know the red flags.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? When the Holy Spirit came to me and told me it was time to break my silence, I didn't question it. Terrified, I obeyed and sacrificed everything to do this. But during this journey, I have been blessed with strength I never had, and courage I never knew. What I didn't expect was how the many other victims would impact me. Hearing their similar stories, seeing their pain and levels of healing, and receiving their thanks of gratitude for me speaking out has humbled me and confirmed the need for this story to be told.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? Jesus and the other trafficking victims inspire me to continue this path. My children, especially my two teenage daughters, influence me to do this for them and all their friends. I love the song Amazing Grace. Martin Luther King and all previous abolitionism are my role models.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: A portion of the money I receive from the sales of my book will go to the SOAP for Hope project. Bars of soap will be given free to motel owners in high risk areas where teens are being trafficked. The soap will have special labels with the toll free hotline number and key questions to reach out the victims. SOAP: Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution.