Survivor Snapshots August 2015

Missy – As we reported last week on Facebook, Missy was tempted away from the safe house by a past relationship and the promise that “things would be different” this time.  Gone for only a few days, she called Shelia and asked if she could come back to us.  Of course, Shelia left immediately to bring her back to safety.  The other residents of the safe house were so happy to have her back that they stayed up well into the night, with the blinds open, watching for Shelia to pull up.  The residents poured out of the house in the wee hours and surrounded Missy, hugging and welcoming her back.  It’s moments like this that solidify for survivors who truly loves and supports them.  We are thrilled to have her back.

Abby – Last month we reported that Abby was facing a difficult journey as the court case against her trafficker drew near.  Just a week before she was scheduled to testify, he pled guilty and was sentenced, alleviating her need to face him and the defense attorneys!  She feels more peace since that development and is concentrating on the hard work of recovery and rebuilding her life.  She is finding comfort in healthy relationships with those around her and celebrating milestones on the path to recovery.  There are still difficult days for Abby, and there will be for some time to come, but the good days are now starting to come along regularly and this builds momentum for more good days to come. 

Felicia – Felicia is finding motivation for her own journey through giving back to others.  She is looking for volunteer opportunities to fill her time, recognizing that it’s not healthy for her to have too much idle time on her hands.  She is making some significant strides toward putting her life back together, recently joining 12 step groups, attending meetings, and participating in programs designed to help her stay sober. Felicia is re-establishing contact with family members who care for her and will support her on the road to freedom and recovery.

Brenda – We paused this month for a special time of prayer for Brenda.  Still confused and making choices that aren’t healthy for her, she is testifying against her traffickers as we write this.  Withstanding questioning from a defense attorney is grueling and facing a trafficker face to face can be terrifying on many levels.  It’s a necessary difficulty that can be overwhelming, even when a person is in a healthy state of mind.  But to have to face such an emotional situation in a fragile state can be devastating.  We are surrounding Brenda with messages and phone calls this week to let her know that we love her and support her. 

Jane - We've been working with Jane for over a year now and have established a relationship with her family, who loves and supports her.  We recently helped Jane’s mother get into acceptable housing so that Jane can return home to live with her family.  This is a victory for Jane as she has wanted to be with her mother for a long time.  In the past, she moved from place to place with nowhere to go, partly because her mother was not able to obtain permanent housing.  We're  excited for Jane and her family to begin life in a stable location and be reunited.

Leah – Sadly, Leah relapsed into her addiction.  The promise of love and the lure of that promise is sometimes too much to resist.  She continues to reach out to her case manager.  Sometimes just letting our survivors know that we are here when they are ready to return and that we never stop loving them is what eventually brings them back to us.  We never give up hope that the stability and hope we offer will eventually be a stronger pull then the illusion they are promised elsewhere. 

Lilly – Lilly continues to amaze us with her fighting spirit and determination.  She has already overcome some seemingly insurmountable health obstacles.  During her multiple surgeries necessitated by multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by her trafficker, she refused pain medications because of her addiction and the threat prescription drugs can be to sobriety.  She is working hard for her life and we could not be more proud of her.  She is an example and inspiration to everyone around her.

Miranda – We spent some time with Miranda this past week celebrating her birthday and some advocacy work she is doing for other victims of human trafficking.  We were able to connect her with local services to remove her “branding” (a commonly used practice by traffickers of tattooing their victims to claim them as their property.)  She will soon be able to look in the mirror without seeing her former trafficker's claim on her body. 

Lexi – Recently, Lexi started to look for a job.  It’s a big milestone when a survivor reaches a point on their journey when they move past survival mode and are ready for the predictability and responsibility of a regular job.  She's been very quiet throughout the time we have worked with her, unable to speak for herself and often shrinking into the background when things got hard.  But recently Lexi feels empowered to start asking for what she needs from the other residents of the safe house.  Learning healthy communication skills is a new life skill.  She is attending 12 step meetings regularly and has even found a “favorite” meeting that she never misses.  She recently enjoyed an outing to Nashville Shores with some of the other survivors and was able to fully experience the fun without fear. 

Becky – Becky continues to thrive on the road to health.  She recently got a job and opened her first bank account.  Becky also referred another survivor to us and has been a mentor to that girl as well, helping her also find employment and encouraging her.  Becky is actively participating in   making healthy life plans for when she completes the program and we're so encouraged by the choices she is making toward rebuilding her life. 

Cheryl – Last week, Cheryl discovered that she is expecting a baby.  As overwhelming as this news was to Cheryl at first, she is embracing the news and actually be excited.  Being pregnant has given her a renewed energy for making healthy choices.  She is rebuilding relationships with her family by establishing boundaries that she needs in order to feel safe.  Cheryl will need our continued support over the coming months to be able to make plans for her future and the future of her baby.  She is being very deliberate with her choices.

Morgan – Recently, a survivor who was referred by a survivor, also became a referring survivor.  She referred Morgan to End Slavery Tennessee and Morgan has been so happy to be here.  She immediately won the hearts of all the staff with her cheerful disposition and ready smile.  She quickly embraced the services of ESTN and has already found a job and a niche for her talents here in the office.  She attends regular counseling and is eager to lead a life free from slavery.