Lately, I’ve been asking you all for some money. You may not have noticed since I’ve been so subtle about it.
You know the money is for Love146, a group that works to end child sex trafficking and to restore victims of sex trafficking. I think their work is something everyone can agree is valuable and worth supporting. But I thought it might be worthwhile to get a little personal and explain why I value their work so much, why I’m part of Tread on Trafficking, and why it would mean so much to me if you would partner with me on this project.
(Before I get started, I will take this opportunity to make sure you understand that this post, if you haven’t figured it out already, will not be about a TV show. Or a movie. Or a food I’m particularly fond of. I will understand if you want to bail now and come back when we return to our regularly scheduled programming. I will be terribly disappointed in you, though.)
I hate that evil, broken people take away a child’s power to choose how she feels about herself and her body. And I don’t think we should let that happen anymore.
I value my body and I get to control what it looks like, what it does, what it’s used for, and, to the extent it’s possible, what other people think of it. The victims of sexual exploitation don’t get to control any of those things. They don’t know their body can be used to hula, or hold someone’s hand, or love on a pet. They don’t know what it is to dress for their own amusement rather than someone else’s sexual gratification. They come to believe their bodies are only useful to provide someone else with physical pleasure. If their bodies can’t do that, they’re meaningless.
The victims also don’t know what it means to feel creative, or funny, or smart. No one delights in them and their unique traits. They’re not wonderfully-created individuals to their pimps and abusers; they’re vessels for their profit and enjoyment. And they start believing they’re only worth what someone will pay for 15 minutes with them.
And that’s why I support Love146. Their Round Home and U.S. and Europe prevention programs allow children to reclaim their inherent value. They learn they’re more than what those people used their bodies for. They learn they can choose how they’re going to feel about themselves. They learn they have more to offer men than false sexual fulfillment. They learn the joy of creating something new, the exhiliration of learning a new dance, and the excitement of reading a book with ideas that had never occurred to them before. They learn people do value them and their singular contributions to the world.