When we talk about sex trafficking, it is easy to reduce the victims to a number or a statistic.
Average age of a trafficking victim: 13 years old.
Average amount of time a woman survives sex trafficking: 7.
Number of girls and women in the sex industry in the United States: 2.3 million
Numbers numb me. Especially when those numbers are so staggering. And those numbers make me feel detached, distant, helpless.
It wasn’t until I saw the faces of trafficking victims that I realized how very real, and very damaging “the life” is. And when I read their names, I remembered that they are individuals. That they had someone who gave them a name and had hopes for them.
When I wrote Paint Chips, I wanted to convey the victims and survivors as flesh and bone, made in the image of God people. People with dreams and plans. Joy and pain.
As I wrote, I often looked at the faces of woman who walked the “track”. The Salvation Army’s Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking has made available the mug shots of woman, arrested for prostitution. From several different arrests (and in chronological order), the pictures are heartbreaking. This is, clearly, not a good life. It’s a difficult one. A soul strangling life.
It is clear from the gaze in their eyes.
Please take a moment. Look into the faces of these women.
You will see women who need redemption, mercy, and freedom.
Click HERE to view the faces and to read the names.