Our favorite part of the movie Taken is the end, where we see the daughter slowly recover from her exploitation: her long visits to the hospital, countless meetings with a counselor, nightmares of her past that keep her up at night long after she’s been brought to a safe place. Just kidding. That doesn’t actually happen. Instead, the movie ends with her fully recovered moments after she runs into Liam Neeson’s arms (carefully stepping over the bodies of all the bad guys he killed). And we hate that.
The film basically hits fast forward on her story. The struggle of recovery? Well, it’s not pleasant or fun to watch so the producers left it behind on the cutting room floor.
As much as we would like to believe that every story we share with you about the children we work with fits into a neat, yet dramatic 3-part story line, that’s not the reality. If some of the stories of the children we work with were to be turned into films depicted in real-time, not every hour would be particularly encouraging or even seem worth watching.
In a movie like Taken, you’re seeing the absolute best and absolute worst: you’re not seeing the regular days that would bore you to tears. I mean, even Liam Neeson must have had to go to the bathroom in between fights, right? Or eat a sandwich to refuel?
A lot of the work of justice happens in the slow, seemingly unremarkable everydays.
Our work of ending child trafficking through prevention and aftercare isn’t exactly a blaze of glory. This winter, we had the honor of being able to provide a survivor of child trafficking in Connecticut a brand new winter coat. And on another day, we took time to celebrate the fact that our Survivor Care Program Manager had a great conversation with an at-risk youth while giving them a backpack filled with things like soap and game books.
Through Not a #Number, our prevention curriculum, we’re not just teaching students how to react in dramatic, emergency situations. We’re also helping them understand relationships and conversations, and how to identify seemingly normal, everyday things that may make them more vulnerable. We love that we get to guide youth on how to navigate something as commonplace as conversations on Facebook.
And we’re joined by everyday people doing everyday things. Someone who puts a Love146 patch on their backpack and goes to school everyday would make for a pretty slow moving reality show, but if we paid attention, we would see that person having conversations about what human trafficking looks like, slowly but surely raising awareness in their community.
In chasing after the highlight reel, we might zip right past moments of beauty and transformation.
The recoveries of children we serve take
everyday perseverance, month after month.
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