The Ugly Truth

981657_10200453461392170_457368876_oI have to turn away.  The staged picture is too real.  Normally, I love seeing images of my daughter, but not these.  Even though I know they aren’t real my eyes don’t want to see the details.

This can’t be my care-free, undefiled girl.  The pain in her eyes repels me.  I force myself to look again.  Stifling tears I finally take in every pixel.  Tears, filth, anguish, tattered clothing, vile bedding.

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I exhale.  It’s not real!

Not this time.  But for too many children this is their reality.  Sex trafficking is a real thing.  When I first became aware of it, I thought of it as an over-there problem.  It happened in other countries and it was reprehensible, but it didn’t happen here.  Then I learned the truth.  It’s also a right-here problem.

I live in a city that is a major hub for trafficking.  Even in my affluent, low-crime suburb it happens.  It is a global problem.  It is an over-there problem and a right-here problem. When I learned this, I was faced with the choice to become more aware and see the truth or live with my head in the sand.  I chose to see the truth.

Others are making the same choice.  A group of people have chosen to take one girl’s story and make a short-film to raise awareness.  Savannah chose to be a part of the promotional photo shoot.  And I chose to make myself share these pictures.

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There are numerous websites that raise awareness about trafficking, but here are just a few statistics:

  • Two children are sold every minute
  • Over 1.2 million children are trafficked annually
  • Over 100,000 US children are forcefully engaged in prostitution or pornography each year

How many children have been sold in the time I have taken to write this?  How many have been sold in the time it has taken you to read it?

Seeing Savannah in trafficking pictures is hard, but I am inordinately proud of her willingness to do it.  What can you do?  What will you do?

  • You can become a sponsor for the film.
  • If you are in the DFW area you can come to a fundraiser on Friday night.

No matter what you do or don’t do, hug your priceless children and thank God they aren’t the ones living in the nightmare of slavery.

3 Comments

  1. Ashana M

    June 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I think what’s harder to fathom is that sometimes trafficking doesn’t look like this. I was trafficked. I was fed and clothed. I was quiet, but I concealed my terror most of the time. I went to public schools. I went to the grocery store with my mom. I went to church. No one knew. Traffickers look like everyone else, and sometimes so do trafficked children.

    Reply
    • Holly Holladay

      June 12, 2013 at 6:12 pm

      Excellent point, Ashana and I absolutely agree! Thank you for pointing out what I failed to make clear, and thank you for stopping by to read. 🙂

      I wish you the best!

      Reply
  2. Philipa

    June 14, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Wow. Holly this is powerful… In these photos, I believe Savannah captured the emotional pain and torment any kind of trafficking brings. Something I can only begin to fathom.

    You are a beautiful and captivating writer Holly 🙂 thanks for sharing your heart with us!

    Reply

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