One of our Naomi’s House graduates had the opportunity to speak in front of a small crowd recently, and to talk about her experience as a woman who successfully completed our program. Not only did she share how her life was changed through her time at NH, she also put a face to this “issue” that we all so often talk about. It was a sobering lesson for me – even though I know her well and am so incredibly proud of her accomplishments – about the truth that too often we speak of human trafficking victims as an “issue.” Or a “problem” to solve. I’ve learned the hard way that others think of victims as people our community must fear. Or as women who need more help than one community can handle. Worst of all, I’ve heard people speak about women who have been sexually exploited as undeserving to live in our communities. Residential homes like Naomi’s House threaten property values, so they think. It’s so clear that they are thinking of the issue … and not the woman.
Imagine with me for a moment what our communities could look like when people whose lives have been shattered have been restored. Think about how our communities can benefit when a life that had been close to death is now thriving. Picture a woman who was told that she was nothing but a piece of property, now living a fulfilled and purposeful life. And when someone can overcome the enemy’s lies with the truth of the gospel? Every one of us is blessed by that!
Overcoming the complexities of human trafficking is not easy. But when a woman is given a fresh chance, new life can form and new dreams can be created. When our graduate shared her story with that room full of people – some of whom were questioning the validity and necessity of a home like Naomi’s House – she was a living demonstration of what happens when someone regains authority over her own life. She pretty much won everyone over that night! No one could deny that she is a true survivor, and that she has a beautiful life in front of her that she is out to fully live.
You would have been so proud of her. And so please, let’s be intentional: behind every issue we discuss is a person. A person who has a name, a story, and a future intended for them by the God who knows them and loves them. Yes and amen!
Blessings to you,