I don’t remember the first time I heard the word human trafficking. I know it was for sure in the past five years, but there wasn’t a monumental experience where I was moved to action and the next day was walking the streets looking for girls to help. It was more like the words kept popping up all around me. A blog post I would read, a Facebook picture of a hand with an X on it, a tweet about a movement … very small mentions over time added up to me realizing that this was real and all around me.

Then the next thing I know I’m in a car with seven other women and a women that works with trafficking victims is driving us all around my town and showing us places that women are being victimized. Brothels posing as massage parlors where women are forced to perform sex acts. Strip clubs where women and girls are being exploited by pimps and johns all out for their own good while completely disregarding the human life that they are using and abusing.

I remember that car ride like it was yesterday and could drive you to each of the places she pointed out to us. I listened as she told stories of women she had met in these places. Women just like me, except they weren’t like me at all. They were trapped. They were alone. They were vulnerable.

After that car ride I knew I had to do something, but the task seemed so large. The temptation was to just remember that one time you went on a drive around town and then that’s it. But I couldn’t stop there. I had to do something.

In the movie IN PLAIN SIGHT, which highlights the work of various organizations around the country that are helping victims of sex trafficking, one of the women in the film said, “Do what you love to do and do it for these girls.”. The mission seems so big that it’s easy to think you have nothing to offer, but that’s not true. Simply do what you love and do it for these girls.

After I went around town seeing this atrocity in my own city, I did something that I love to do. I hosted a book club. I love to read and I love discussing books with friends, and so this was something that I did. We all read Rachel Lloyd’s book, GIRLS LIKE US, and spent a few hours in my living room discussing this book. We talked about the stories we had read, we discussed how our preconceived notions were turned upside down through this book, and we discussed what we could do about this in our own lives. This simple act brought 25 women together and we all left more educated about this problem.

Girls Like US

All of this started from me just thinking about what I could do. What gifts did I have to offer? What do I love to do? I love to connect people, I love to read, I love to rally people around a cause. All of those things are gifts of mine and things I love. So I’m doing them, and I’m doing them for these girls. You too can do this.

Friends, what do you love to do? Could you do it for these girls?

Take your passions, your gifts, your talents and use them for someone that has no one fighting for them, or speaking up for them. Your gifts and talents matter; you can do something. 

Jamie Ivey