Just like many broken homes, finances was a big issue. For the lack of better terms I was a "Welfare" baby. With a mentally sick mother, and an absent father, turning 18 didn’t mean freedom, it meant responsibility. Instead of enjoying my 18 birthday candles, I was stressing with my mother on how we were going to pay rent after the state taking away her benefits, because I was no longer being a child at the age of 18. I had recently graduated but had little to no work experience, nor did I have the proper resources in my life to help me get prepared for a job. For a couple of months my mother seemed to handle things on her own, till the fatal day came, when a Dr. cut one of her main arteries during a surgery. Only when my mom bled out internally did her Dr. realize her mistake. Never did she own up to her mistake, and she left my mother in a coma with no explanation on why she was responding to the surgery like that. With my mother lying in a hospital bed attached to machines, my brother and I were left to tend to the responsibilities of the house hold. Need I say less, it was a hot mess. Time after time the neighbor saved me from the raft of my brother. Like typical brother and sister we had fights. Not like typical brother and sister, my brother was diagnosed with manic bipolar, and I was diagnosed with smart ass. I learned a few lessons, when I could have just walked away... All of these factors put me in a very vulnerable state of mind, I just wanted to escape and make sure my mom wasn’t homeless, if and when she came home. Being in a vulnerable state of mind makes you the perfect victim to start grooming. For many of us when we hear the word groomed, we think about someone who washes your animals and makes them look even more exceptional to love. When you enter the world of Human Trafficking you learn the real meaning of groomed. Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or trafficking. Believe it or not traffickers are writing books on the steps of creating the perfect pimp game. How to pick the perfect victim to start grooming is step one.... Never did I expect to be step one...
Update: I am currently working on my degree in Legal Studies to further in Law School. While working alongside with Gems uncovered I have participated in several public speaking events, but little did I know that a social worker with Helpline Youth Counseling had been observing me the entire time. To my amazement, she created a position for me and hired me on her team as a Survivor Mentor and Case Manager for other victims of trafficking.
I recently have had the chance to speak on a nationwide outreach panel called C.A.S.T. As I finished speaking and stepped down from my panel I was approached by this beautiful strong lady in red. She thanked me, gave me her business card and asked for me to please keep in touch as she heard that my dream goal was to become a Prosecutor. As I walked away I glanced at her business card, it read “Lana Morton Owens Assistance United States Attorney General, Human Trafficking Coordinator for the United States Attorney Office”. I was in awe on how the lord has orchestrated my walk so perfectly. Following all this, I received an email from my supervisor stating they asked to have me back to be on another panel.
If you all knew my resume you would pity me, but just because we feel unqualified on paper, doesn’t mean God won’t qualify us. I started my walk on the path that God has given me for so long, I barely started being obedient 2 months ago... And he has moved mountains and parted seas to put me on the top with people who have worked their entire lives to get to that same very place... I say this because I want everyone to wake up to the Lords presence and know that even if you feel someone else is better, He will still choose you!
I am a wife, a mother, a student, a mentor and case manager, But most important, I am a human trafficking survivor. When I was 19, I fell for prince charming, Mr. Romeo, little did I know, the palace this life had in store for me, wasn't of a fairy-tale life at all... For the next couple of months I will be going forth with pieces of my story on the She Arises blog. Every post will be part of that path, and an update on my God given path. I look forward to this journey, and can't wait to dive in with you all.