Chifonne, one of our Ambassadors of Hope shares her story!
When I first heard about sex trafficking, I was probably 12 years old. It was the very early days of Shared Hope, not long after Linda Smith had been to India, and she shared at a local event where my mom heard what Linda saw and experienced, and how she was working to help. My mom was incredibly moved by what she learned, and in turn, told a number of other people about it. I was, of course, one of those people. I was shocked and horrified that girls could be SOLD as if they were property.
I remember going to my best friend Lindsay’s house and telling her about it. She was also outraged, and we decided we had to do something to help these girls. We convinced our children’s pastor to let us make a presentation to our children’s church, as long as we promised not to use words like “sex”. I remember the two of us standing in front of all our friends that Sunday morning and telling them about kids our age or younger who were slaves, and how we could help free them. We took an offering that morning and raised $34, which we sent to Shared Hope.
This happened 17 years ago, but it was the start of something significant for both Lindsay and me. I’ve been an Ambassador for several years, and have also been part of other local teams and groups working to end Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. My friend Lindsay went on to co-produce a documentary about sex trafficking in the US, Sex + Money: A National Search For Human Worth to which Linda Smith was a contributor, and which screened at college campuses across the nation. Both Lindsay and I have continued at times doing work abroad with girls and children at-risk.
I say all of this not to toot our proverbial horns in any way, but as a reminder for all of us who work to raise awareness. You never know how people’s hearts are being stirred by your words, or what they may do in response to being informed. If you recall, neither my friend nor I had been at an actual “presentation.” Someone who had been – my mom – shared with me, and I shared with a friend, who in turn shared with a lot more friends. That ripple effect is happening ALL THE TIME. What you do has impact that reaches far wider than you may realize.
Chifonne, Washington State Ambassador
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