ONE PERSON REALLY CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Do you ever feel like the issue of sex trafficking is too big to make a difference? Well, that’s not true.
One person really can
make a difference!
I received a phone call from a young lady in March asking to meet. She was familiar with the work of Rescuing Hope and wanted to learn all she could. For security reasons, I’ll call her Jenny.
Jenny is an Emergency Room nurse at a very large hospital in a suburb of Atlanta. She had my undivided attention from the moment we sat down because I have great respect for her profession.
Nurses get stuck with the dirty work. They have to deal with the paperwork, the blood work, vaccinations, cranky patients, extended family, etc. Let’s just put it this way, have you ever seen a doctor give an enema or deal with a bedpan? Nurses are heroes.
Jenny knew a little about sex trafficking from reading and from stories on the news; however, because of her work, she felt it important to gain more education. We talked for about an hour with me explaining what indicators she should look for in potential victims and how to handle the situation if she did, in fact, think she had encountered a victim of sex trafficking.
Just weeks later, I received a text message from her,
You’re not going to believe this….”
I immediately called her for the details. Jenny had been at work and a fellow nurse who knew Jenny was getting educated on the subject of sex trafficking approached her and said she was suspicious about a patient. The patient had an older sister with her who did all of the talking. In fact, she wouldn’t really allow the patient to answer for herself at all. These are clear indicators you may be dealing with a trafficking victim.
Jenny knew exactly what to do.
She entered the room and asked several medical questions so she wouldn’t alert the older sister of their suspicions. She then informed them she would need to take the patient for some preliminary tests and then they would return. She stated the older sister wouldn’t be allowed to accompany the patient for the tests. She may or may not have said it was hospital policy.
Once Jenny had the patient safely removed from the older sister, she took her to another patient room and told her they would have to wait a few minutes for the testing room to become available. At that point she struck up a conversation with the patient, trying to remain calm and speak in a soothing voice.
The patient reached out to Jenny and said,
You’ve got to help me!
Then she erupted like a volcano, telling her story and how she was being held against her will and sexually exploited. The older sister was actually the trafficker’s bottom girl, often referred to simply as “the bottom” in the life. Jenny pulled her phone out and together they placed a call dispatching rescuers to the hospital.
The older sister was nowhere to be found and the young lady was taken to a safe place where she would receive the care she needed and be put on the pathway to recovery.
Jenny didn’t do this alone. Multiple people were involved in this young lady’s rescue:
- Me- training Jenny on indicators and protocols
- The Admitting Nurse- seeking Jenny’s assistance
- Jenny- looking for the indicators and following protocols
- The Rescuers- picking the patient up and taking her to safety
- The Safe House Staff- providing a safe place for her to rest and helping her to choose a recovery program
- The Recovery Program Staff- taking her from victim to survivor to thriver
No one person or organization could do it all alone; however, together a life was changed.
I have the privilege of traveling across the country, raising awareness about sex trafficking in America and training first responders and potential victims. I’ve met hundreds of people from every aspect of this fight. Inevitably, someone always says,
What can I do, I’m only one person?”
My response to that question is also my challenge to you:
Do what you can, where you are, with what you have!”
Everyone can do something. If everyone would just do that, we could eradicate this evil from our country. Step into the fight.
Find a list of medical indicators here.
Find a list of general indicators here.
Find a list of indicators for educators here.