My biggest fear this week has been getting lost. With the exception of 2 trips into town and a few runs down the exact same 3 mile loop, I've not left campus yet. When difficulties have come up, I've taken great comfort in the fact that I at least know where I am and I know where I can find people who will look out for me.
Gabriella wasn't so blessed. In a new area, she didn't know who to trust, and once she got swept up by the tidal wave of commercial sex trafficking, she found herself lost with nowhere to run to.
As I run down my safe little loop through a quaint park in the Bible belt of Pennsylvania, my heart just breaks for how blessed I am. The contrast is overwhelming. I don't like to preach, but this week, I want to challenge you with a question: why did God bless us so?
Several years ago, Gabriella lived in Colombia with her family and worked at a grocery store. As the eldest child, she had to provide for her mother and sisters after her father committed suicide. A childhood friend of Gabriella’s moved to the United States some years before, and he offered to help her move to America every time he visited Columbia. He promised he would help her to find work in a restaurant so she could better support her family. After a year, she agreed.
The next thing she knew, Gabriella was taken to the U.S. and forced into prostitution. Not only was she held in debt bondage for $10,000, but she was told that if she tried to escape, her family would be harmed. For five long years, Gabriella lived as the property of her traffickers. She was moved to a different brothel almost every week, never knew where she was, and wasn't able to seek outside help. Unfortunately, Gabriella’s story is not unique. Polaris Project regularly assists victims of human trafficking who are left without homes, employment, family, or friends. Fortunately for Gabriella, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) caught her trafficker. Gabriella was rescued through a raid that ICE did on the brothel where she was held. ICE referred her to Polaris Project for services.
Gabriella met with one of our case managers at least once a week for much needed emotional support and comprehensive care. Polaris Project assisted Gabriella in finding an apartment for her and her 2-year-old daughter, helped her enroll in ESL classes, and provided her with employment assistance.
3.2 miles for Gabriella
225.07 miles to date.
G.Q., N.H., and S.O.
Because He first loved me,