Imagine a fourteen-year-old girl in a new country with hopes of finding a better life. With her limited English, she is promised a job as a nanny if she goes with a man who seems nice and trustworthy. After all, he showers her with gifts. It is too late when she discovers his lies. She is forced into servitude, a piece of property forced to perform sexual acts for profit. There are no chains. She is not kept in a cage. Still, she is imprisoned by threats, manipulation, and lies. No way to break free. No hope. No freedom.
Many will be surprised to learn Charlotte ranks 8th in trafficking of minors in the country. It is the mission of End Slavery in Charlotte to bring awareness and help to victims. It serves as a volunteer clearinghouse for individuals and groups wanting to get involved in the fight against human trafficking locally.
One way you can support the cause is to attend a book signing event on Saturday, February 25, by three local authors; Don Carroll, Reita Pendry, and Susan Mills Wilson. They write fiction to inspire your heart or keep you on the edge of your seat with suspense. All proceeds will benefit End Slavery in Charlotte and The Third Place, which is hosting the event. The Third Place is a non-profit coffee shop located inside Caldwell Presbyterian Church. They specialize in using coffee beans imported from Africa, Central America, and South America where the coffee is brewed “pour-over” style, one cup at a time.
In the fall of 2015, I wrote a blog post, “Lost Innocence Finds Hope.” My inspiration for the post was On Eagles Wings Ministries, a non-profit agency helping young girls overcome the victimization of sex trafficking. This non-profit is near and dear to my heart because a portion of my late grandson’s memorial fund went to this worthwhile organization. It is one of the agencies sponsored by End Slavery in Charlotte.
Will you help with this overlooked problem in our community? Check out the agencies and consider a donation or a volunteer opportunity. Also, don’t forget to stop by on February 25 at The Third Place between 10 and 1 and support local authors who will donate all profits to ESC and The Third Place.