The Slave Across the Street: A True Story of How an American Teen Survived the World of Human Trafficking
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Dave Anthold5 Stars Out Of 5January 13, 2010Dave AntholdIn The Slave Across the Street by Theresa Flores, she recounts her terrible nightmare of being used as a sex slave in the Detroit area. As she recounts her story, I found myself wanting to vomit at some of the hidious acts against this young teen.Theresa was fifteen when her whole world turned upside down. At fifteen, you think that nothing can touch you. You start thinking about the opposite sex, and your stomach turns to mush when that special someone walks by. She recounts how a simple act of flirtation led to one wrong decision, which led to one nightmare after another. She was forced into losing her virginity at fifteen and then pictures surfaced that forced her to choose between her familys safety or embarrassment. She chose to protect her family & that single decision catapulted into eighteen months of servitude to a human trafficking ring.Hearing Theresas story made my stomach spin in disgust. Theresa came from an upper middle income family. She was white, blonde and blue-eyed. Human trafficking is not isolated to third-world countries. This book pulls the lid off sex slavery and child exploitation. This story is not devoid of pain, sorrow, hurt or healing. Theresa is healing emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally.After she tells her story, she provides valuable information for parents, law enforcement, friends, educators to be aware of the signs of someone who is hurting. We always think that we will see the signs, but the truth is, we dont want to look deep enough into people to see their hurt.This book is a must read for parents, counselors, teachers, kids, friends and whomever you can put it in their hands. This book is graphic and it will shock you, so consider yourself warned, but it is important to read or listen. I was a bit naive that something like this could touch me in my middle class world, Im glad I listened to this book.
Author: Theresa Flores
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.