‘You Are Not Forgotten’ Holiday Walk
This year survivors of commercial sexual exploitation with Veronica’s Voice will be walking on Christmas Day, regardless of weather, in recognition of victims still in bondage. As Christmas Elf for this event, I will be collecting funds in sponsorship of SURVIVOR Lesa Miller. Lesa’s bio:
I grew up as an only child of an only child. My grandfather was the man who groomed me for prostitution. Showering me with extravagant gifts just so I would keep his secret. At 19 I found massage parlors and felt this was the direction I had been designed for. For 32 years I kept my secret as my life spiraled into a dark, dark place. Then God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. He stripped everything from me and gave me only myself and Him to focus on. Today I am on a different path and I am proud to say that I am a peer counselor at Veronica’s Voice!
All monies raised from this 14 block walk will be used to assist victims; specifically used for Magdalene Manor, Veronica’s Voice new home for victims.
In the words of the survivors in honor of the victims:
We as survivors recognize that as the world around us celebrated the holidays, there are women and children suffering working in the sex trade.
- We are walking for those who are and feel forgotten;
- We are walking for those who won’t be spending the holidays with family and friends;
- We are walking for those across America on our streets tonight;
- We are walking for those who are hidden away from our sight, in houses, strip clubs, massage parlors, and on the internet.
We know you are out there, we love you, we have walked in your shoes, and we still will today. While others are opening presents, waiting for Santa Claus, eating the family holiday meal, surrounded by love and acceptance, warm and comfortable, we are walking because we never will forget where we came from, and because…
WE WILL NOT LET YOU BE FORGOTTEN!
It is so easy for us to become passionate about helping with the international sex trafficking campaign. It is very easy to not think about what is happening in our own communities to domestic victims. What we see are adults making a choice about their profession. If the average age of entry into prostitution is 13, why do we not believe that children sell themselves by their own choice? If the average age of entry is 13 and some are not sexually exploited until adulthood, how young are some victims? Would we have ever heard of Shaniya Davis if she had not died? When a child is being sexually exploited, does she suddenly become a consenting adult the day she turns 18? Did she ever consent to the lifestyle that she has become trapped within? Another disturbing thought, if this is taking place in my community, who is purchasing?
I live in the Kansas City area (US), smack dab in the middle of my country. Kansas City is a smaller sized city, but we do have those zones in which “street walkers” are known to roam. These zones are in the “bad part of town”, but the highest volume of prostitution takes place at I-435 & Metcalf, one of the wealthy suburban areas. Prostitution is hidden in plain sight. This makes sense. Those with a disposable income will be more likely to spend money on what they want with the means to do it discretely.
Victim of Child Prostitution Profile (presented by Sgt. B.A. Fassett, Dallas Police Dept., at the Call For Community Action Conference, KC MO 3/15/10)
Sexual Abuse = 93%
Physical Abuse = 96%
Abandonment = 87%
Family Risk Factors:
Parent Physically Abused = 82%
Parent Sexually Abused = 74%
Parents Divorced = 71%
Single Parent Home = 63%
Youth Uses = 79%
Family Usage = 86%
Suicide Ideation = 89%
Lethal Suicidal Plan = 54%
Some of my dearest friends are survivors of sexual exploitation. I honor them and the trauma they endured before and while trapped in the sex industry. I honor their passionate hearts as they diligently work to give other victims the chance to be free from enslavement.
When the commodity is a human, it is slavery. Please stand with me in partnership to provide victims a safe haven at Magdalene Manor. Please sponsor Lesa in this walk. To give, click this link, or click Chip In on my sidebar. All donations go to Veronica’s Voice.