Introduction

Love146 – Day One.

Nicole, one of the US Prevention Team Members, sat down with the interns today and walked through a program called Tell Your Friends– an awareness and information session that she runs at various high schools around CT.

It’s my first time really delving into the topic, and it’s nice to have so many of my misconceptions both exposed and shattered.

What really struck me is how the girls feel happiness and love in their relationship with the traffickers.
But they are just shadows of true happiness and true love. They have been so broken by their past experiences that they’ve had to compromise what kind of love they think they deserve; so starved of real relationships that the man who is exploiting them becomes their friend, father, family. In so many ways, they have been robbed of the chance of having choice over whether or not they trust the trafficker the day he or she shows up.

At the Love146 Café Night at Tufts this past Spring, someone saw the postcards I had designed that read “Love for All” and asked me “Does that mean love for the traffickers too? And the Johns?” I was a bit too shocked and maybe even ashamed in the moment to respond, but looking back on it now, my answer would be a big yes. The traffickers are in need of love just as much as the girls– love is really the only way to heal whatever brokenness is inside them that’s leading them to to make the choices that they are making. Thinking about how the girls lack choice given their background, I feel like the traffickers (to a certain extent) also lack choice in what they do. It is absolutely false that the traffickers in this situation are innocent, and that isn’t what I’m trying to say, but there is a part of me that says the traffickers are starved of real happiness and love as well.

Throughout all of this, I’m reminded of how God’s love is the only thing that can heal all the wounds in this situation. The fact that His love is incredibly big is the thing that gives me hope and stirs me to action. He teaches me that justice isn’t about punishment, but about restoration. Everyone deserves to learn what it means to experience true happiness and love.

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