I first met Rebecca when she was 14 and arrested for prostitution. Although most youth offenders charged with non-violent crimes remain at home while on probation, that wasn't an option for Rebecca.
We owe our children an environment in which they can flourish, and where law enforcement, the justice system, and society as offers them a fresh start, not a jail cell.
Bottom line. We can do better. For starters, members of the media and lawmakers should no longer use the term "child prostitute."
We must take action to combat sex trafficking all around the world. But we must first start in our own backyard.
Girls are sold for sex in this country with the same disregard for human dignity as those other nations, and they are often tortured in the same ways when they try to escape.
An unexpected gift of running is that when you challenge yourself, and you dig deeper than you ever thought possible, you not only become immensely proud of yourself but also those who love you bear witness to the inner strength you have unearthed.
It's not surprising that people often ask me why I run so much, but more often than that they ask, "What are you running away from?" Whenever I hear that, I smile because I don't think I'm running away from anything. In fact, I'm running towards something -- a better "me."
It knows no socio-economic boundaries. Blind to race, gender and religion, it's infected thousands and infiltrated public consciousness like nothing in recent memory.
I wanted her to believe me. But, instead, she stood coldly, with her back turned, and snarled, "You're lying. I want you out of my house."
While sharing about BLVR's investment in us, I shared my personal story of being sexually abused by a family friend when I was six, keeping it secret until after graduating college, and about the heavy toll it took on my life.
Yes, there was something wrong, but it wasn't with me, and my cyber sex was nothing more than a symptom of something bigger. It was my way of showing that I felt out of control and helpless.
It's a mythical number that skeptics never question. And it's come up again and again in the national press for decades. It's purportedly the number of victims from the infamous child sexual abuse cases of the 1980s and 1990s. Not child victims, though.
For the past week and a half, I've been traveling the rural island of Barbados teaching primary and secondary school students vital lessons on how to stay safe.
You know those seasons in life that you look back on and think, "Whew, those were some amazing times!"? Well, that's how we're going to look back on what's happening right now.
Even in the pain, there are days when I can find compassion for you. Days when I wonder about your story. What causes a grown man to find gratification in a child's pain?
I first learned about Nomi Network when I purchased a "Buy her bag, not her body" tote. Trafficking survivors design and manufacture these bags with locally sourced materials such as recycled rice sacks.