What does it take to end human trafficking? It takes a village, it takes advocating, it takes blood sweat and tears, and it takes being willing to go back to the drawing board over and over again when plans, strategies, and systems fail.
It takes investment, not just from the top, powerful few.
It takes investment by us all. The doctors, teachers, counselors, police officers, stay at home moms, Judges, Legislators, Pastors, bankers, waiters or waitresses, truck drivers, ER nurses or non-profit employees….it takes all of us.
Everyone has a role to play in ending human trafficking, whether they know it or not.
We must realize that Human Trafficking isn’t just a “cause” or an “issue” to champion. Human trafficking affects people, and those lives are worth moving heaven and earth for. We must decide that we all have something in our hands that we can use to serve the vulnerable and forgotten. Our resources, influence, skills, time, power, hobbies, and our passion; we all have something we can give.
She was an ER nurse sitting in a Human Trafficking training at the end of a long shift. Most in the room did not want to be there. They blankly stared and sparsely took notes as I presented my guts out about why, as ER staff, especially at a state hospital where high-risk populations frequented, it was essential for them to know the signs and symptoms of human trafficking.
I left feeling that I was just another talking head to them, another seminar teacher delivering information that went in one ear and out of the other.
Two weeks later, our human trafficking hotline rang, and I answered. It was an ER nurse, the one who found herself in the dreaded-end-of-the-day training just weeks before.
“I think there’s a victim of trafficking in our ER. I was at the training and remembered what you said, and I believe that she is a victim. What do we do?”
It was indeed a victim of trafficking. She had been beaten beyond recognition and was barely conscious. Her pimp was by her side with no plans of leaving the room. How would we ever get him away from her long enough to rescue her?
I drove to the hospital to assist the hospital staff in coming up with a plan, but when I arrived, the brave ER nurse had already decided what should be done.
“I’ve told the man that we have to take her to get an X-ray and that she would be gone for 20 minutes. I explained that because of radiation, he could not come. I’m about to go get her and wheel her down to the X-ray room. That will give you about 20 minutes to get her out of here,” she said through a shaking voice. She was choosing bravery WHILE being scared.
The nurse walked into the room and faced the man who appeared to be her pimp eye to eye. She wheeled the victim out of the room and into the Xray room where our team waited.
When the victim, whom we knew very well, registered we were there, a look of relief spread across her bruised and swollen face, and she began to weep. She knew she was free.
The nurse quickly stated, “We’ve cleared all the halls of the hospital leading to the rear exit, and there is a police escort waiting to escort you to the interstate. Good Luck.”
She opened the door, and we ran that victim out of the back of the hospital and to her first breath of freedom in months.
One life snatched from the experience of human trafficking and given a chance to be free. How? The investment of an ER nurse. The decision she made to roll up her sleeves and make herself a part of the rescue.
Knowing only what she had learned in an hour training, she decided that she had a part to play.
She saw that one life as worthy of her time, energy, and attention and deemed her worthy of the many risks she took.
All of us have a part to play. And what is the result if we play our role? Rescue. As the Founder of The Hub: urban ministries, I want to say that I am beyond grateful to First Lady Donna Edwards for the choice she has made to use her time, talents, influence and platform for the most vulnerable populations in our state. She has seen her part to play and is playing it well.
Let’s all join her!
For more information about Purchased: Not for Sale or to inquire about being trained in Human Trafficking 101, visit www.thehubministry.com.
Founder & Executive Director
The Hub: urban ministries