A few weeks ago, a young person named Moon* turned 18 in our UK Survivor Care Program. While that wouldn’t mean many changes for some young people living in care, for Moon, a non-British national, it means big changes. Child Protective Services in charge of Moon’s care want to move her someplace cheaper but far away from her community and the carers she has come to love. She is terrified at the prospect and has threatened to run away. My sense of urgency about finding a way for her to stay safe and supported in her community has never been more clear.
I was one of five children in a household where money was always tight and savings accounts for each of us weren’t in the plan. I never expected to go to college. But I managed to secure a spot at a prestigious university due to good test scores. Scraping together enough money to pay for the first year was only possible because of a small inheritance that my mother had received. She put it all towards my school, but it still fell short. When my friends and I parted ways at the end of our first year, I made plans with the rest of them, sure I’d return to school in the fall. But my family couldn’t afford university fees any longer. The week that I should have returned to uni, my parents told me that they had tried to come up with funds, but had been unsuccessful. I would have to drop out of school.
I’m sure that’s part of the reason that Moon’s situation resonates with me so much. It’s hard to look around at a place where you feel like you belong — and have external circumstances say that you actually don’t belong there. To realise that the people you have come to think of as family can be plucked out of your life so easily. The work that you’ve put in: meaningless. The habits and structure you’ve created: so apparently fragile.
But, while my situation was unfortunate, Moon’s is a matter of safety. The implications for her are external and immediate. The work she has put in goes far beyond learning Latin conjugations and into breaking years of ingrained trauma.
A home for Moon is something within reach. It’s possible. It’s just not easy. The burden of caring for and supporting a trafficked young person is heavy. In fact, it’s too heavy for Moon to carry alone, and it’s even too heavy for Love146 to carry alone. We have started a fund called “A Home for Moon.” A gift from you will mean that Moon can stay just down the road from her Love146 carers in her own small and cosy home. She can have the support she still needs to stay safe — in her own community. It will mean that we never need to have a conversation with Moon where we say, “We’ve tried really hard, but you can’t stay.”
*name changed for anonymity