For the girls and women who didn’t get to choose their life as it currently exists.
“You think you had a choice,” I ask, staggered.
“She looks at me, then looks away. She starts to cry.
‘I don’t know. I guess I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t want it.’”*
What can happen. What does happen, although it seems impossible right now.
This post honors Jennifer Kempton, my “neighbor,” but one whom I have never met. She lives 45 minutes from me in Columbus, OH, but for years lived a world away. She was born into an abusive home. Then, like so many other vulnerable girls, she was eventually lured into false love, drug addiction, and then trafficked by someone she thought finally loved her, someone no more than a lowly, self-serving, greedy pimp who repeatedly uses the same M.O. with other vulnerable girls. Sadly, it’s a commonly used method among traffickers, who prey on the needs of abused, confused, emotionally-needy kids.
She is a grace-filled survivor now, helping other girls and women leave and recover from their own experiences inside the horrifying world of human trafficking. Called by God and on a mission, she helps them regain their personhood, even as she still attempts to regain her own. Learn more about her and the girls and women she supports at Survivor’s Ink.
“We women and children shouldn’t have to bear this. We are not possessions or property, we are all children of God . . . I can’t believe it has finally gone. Now I am free.”
~Ruthie, whose brand/tattoo, placed on her by her pimp, was given new life by Chuck Waldo, a Columbus tattoo artist. Waldo has partnered with Kempton to give these women a new lease on their identities by covering the old brand with gorgeous designs symbolizing new life and hope.
*”Human Trafficking: Modern-Day Slavery in Focus” by Annie Kelly. Posted at The Guardian. Nov 15, 2015.
“For the Survivors” © 2015 Natalie Eastman | The Verity Initiative LLC | www.NatalieEastman.com
Writer at Biblical Breakthrough
NATALIE R. WILSON EASTMAN (M.Div. ‘02, D.Min. ’05–Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is a freelance writer and member of the Redbud Writers Guild. She has served as a full-time youth minister to girls and women; worship leader and team developer; missionary to east Asia; and retreat and event teacher/speaker. She lives in Delaware, OH, with her husband and three young children. Links to her blogs may be found at natalieeastman.com.