“I’m not just a survivor of sex trafficking. I am an overcomer. By God’s grace and with His help, I’m standing on the rubble of my past.”
She’s a survivor of sex trafficking. Her stepdad was her trafficker.
It began in the basement of her home, when Marie was just five years old. First, they filmed pornography. Then he used her for sex. And when that wasn’t enough to fulfill his twisted fantasies, he began selling her to his friends.
Marie ran away for the first time when she was 7. By 11 years old, she felt more at home on the streets than in her own house. It was safer out there, she’ll tell you.
She tried countless times to escape the torture, but there was nowhere to turn, no one to turn to. Once, after running away, a police officer found Marie out on her own. She told him about her stepfather. She begged the officer not to take her home. But that is exactly where he took her. Marie realized then that she had no one to defend her …
She hadn’t met you.
Marie was 14 when she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in the basement of her home. Her stepfather took the young mother and her baby to another state and left them there. The two were picked up by police … Marie was put in a group home, while her four-month-old son was placed in foster care.
It wasn’t long before Marie was back on the streets. In and out of abusive situations. Prostituted by a pimp who gave her good food and good drugs, as long as she “obeyed.”
One night, Marie was picked up by an 81-year-old buyer who immediately became violent with her; as they struggled, she stabbed him with a penknife … she was arrested, charged with manslaughter, and sent to prison for five years. Because she was a “prostitute,” she was not worthy of a self-defense claim.
Marie walked out of prison, 20 years old and alone, with nowhere to go. Not surprisingly, she wound up back on the streets — again being prostituted — back to prison … an endless, awful, hopeless cycle. In prison, Marie gave birth to her second child, a little girl, who was quickly taken from her. Marie wept and grieved for the first time ever … and begged Jesus to restore her life. The transformation began.
Marie began devouring the Bible, learning everything she could about God, and attending church. There, she was put in contact with Shared Hope, and we offered her a safe home and job skills training. Day by day, Marie got stronger.
Today, with the help of Shared Hope and the support of friends like you, Marie is mentoring single mothers and ministering together with her husband through a program at their church!
A narrative that began with horrific abuse, homelessness, drugs, sex trafficking, and prison time has miraculously become a story of restoration. Today, Marie is living a life of purpose and victory — and helping other victims overcome.
She’s why Shared Hope exists.
She’s why our Institute is so vitally important.
She’s why we’re working harder than ever to bring justice to victims,
end demand, and hold offenders accountable.
By God’s grace, and with your ongoing financial support and prayers for all our efforts, we’ll open our doors in January 2020 — a strategic new Institute in Washington, D.C., from which to press forward in our key initiatives and continue our vital work.
Together, we will eradicate this evil from the world and give hope to survivors of this terrible crime.
What does justice look like? It looks a lot like Marie.
Your teen has a new online friend.
She’s never met the new friend face-to-face … but this person seems to make your daughter feel cared for, confident, and connected.
So how do you know:
Is this person truly a friend — or a predator in disguise?
Now, you no longer have to guess!
We have the answers through our empowering Internet Safety video series. We’re thrilled to bring you this new set of resources to help you protect the children in your life.
You’ll meet Kelly, Shared Hope’s Community Engagement Manager and Internet Safety Specialist. She’ll help you navigate the latest technology, tactics, and apps predators use to target children. You will be equipped with knowledge of technology dangers and prepared with important safety tips.
Visit SharedHope.org/InternetSafety today to sign up for updates and download our new video series!
What is your state’s grade?
Download your state’s report card here to find out how your state measures up in the fight against child sex trafficking.
You can also check out our new grassroots Advocacy Action Center to get the latest news and local action alerts, how to contact your legislators, and ways to protect the children in your communities!
With the help of friends like you, we will not rest until every state stops the criminalization of children like Marie for crimes committed against them.
Your generous tax-deductible contribution will empower Shared Hope’s Institute to continue our vital work together — to bring justice to victims, end demand, and hold offenders accountable … until all of our nation’s children are protected.
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