Tag Archives: reabolish slavery

I feel little, broken, invisible, lost…

I found myself saying those words this morning, over and over—in truth, sobbing them. hiding child BWAnd at the very time I need to be the opposite of those things, or so I tell myself. I wanted to hurry past the feelings, push them away, like I have been doing for weeks. I know better. I spent years in therapy trying to expose the buried emotions that kept me from functioning at my fullest. I also spent years as a counselor encouraging clients to “embrace their brokenness” rather than push it away or bury it. And yet, here I am.

As the release of my first book approaches, the turmoil has increased. Rationally, it is not surprising. As a survivor of severe abuse, one of my strongest defenses has been to be invisible, blend into the woodwork, never draw attention, and now I am asking myself to do the opposite: be visible, expose myself, my thoughts, my very heart. And the broken part of me says that is dangerous, deadly. I can argue with the thoughts, but changing the feelings is near impossible. My counselor self says, don’t change the feelings, embrace them.

So I allow myself to feel what I have been pushing away. It’s ugly, painful, terrifying. This world seems huge, unfriendly, just looking for a way to crush me. I am not wanted here.

Oh, I hit a core belief. I am not wanted. Who I am is a mistake. My thoughts are not wanted, my feelings are not wanted. I should never have been born. Ouch. My heart twists with the pain. It is so deep, so fathomless.

I want to rush to counter the belief. I am loved by many people. I am wanted now. I have gifts, thoughts, skills that are valuable and needed. But to rush to that argument diminishes the value of that broken part of me and confirms her beliefs: nobody wants to hear that negative talk, nobody likes a loser—just ask Donald Trump. The world wants to see confidence, power, strength, not ugly, self-pitying weakness.

I have learned over the years, however, that I make truer, deeper connections with others in and through my brokenness. A huge percentage (don’t ask me for numbers; I have no idea) of this world’s population is more familiar with brokenness than power and “success.” Exposing my broken places, being honest about who I am and what I feel, has built more bridges to others than my façade of confidence ever has or will.

My entire novel series, in fact all I’ve ever written, has come out of my brokenness, not my learned skills or my inner power.

The reason I am a modern day abolitionist, the reason I fight for the rights and dignity of all people comes out of my brokenness. moderndayslaveryWhat I’m feeling today—little, broken, invisible, lost—those trapped in slavery, those being trafficked, those being abused, feel every day. I don’t want to shove away my feelings because they keep me connected to 27-30 million slaves around the world and  uncalculated numbers of survivors of abuse.

And so, I embrace my brokenness, and I embrace our broken world. If you are one of the  broken, I hope you feel my heart reaching toward you. And if you should choose to reach back,  my heart is open.


Filed under Human Trafficking, Writing

The Complexities of Reabolishing Slavery Worldwide


The above article from CNN focuses on slavery in Mauritania but addresses issues that are worldwide. It is masterful at personalizing the plague of modern day slavery and pointing out the complex issues found in trying to address the practices, beliefs, and customs that are sometimes centuries old.

I’m an American–a privileged, white American–who has a difficult time wrapping my head around the idea that someone would not jump at the chance to be free. But this article helped me realize that it is not so very different from when I was a child, trapped by abuse, not knowing there was anything better out there, afraid to trust, believing that anyone who offered help might only make things worse. I listened to the people in this article, and I heard bits of myself. Now that I’m free, I can see it so clearly, just as the former slaves in this article do.

Modern slavery and human trafficking are complex, multi-dimensional problems, but we have to keep fighting for the sake of those not yet free and those who don’t even realize there is something better out there.

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Filed under Human Trafficking, International Issues

Human Trafficking Awareness Day

“When you tell yourself that there is nothing you can do to arrest the global slave trade, you underestimate your own potential and abandon hope for those trapped in captivity.”
-David Batstone, founder of Not For Sale.

I think I am one of those sensitive souls who gets overwhelmed by the evil in this world. I often find myself saying, “It’s too much.” I feel small and powerless against the giants of human trafficking, poverty, and the violation of innocents around the world. I want to do something but don’t know where to start.

Then I am inspired by a twelve-year old girl who opens a lemon-ade stand so she can send money to stop human trafficking. Or an eight year old boy who does chores around his neighborhood so he can help dig a well for a village in remote Uganda where there is no safe water. Or university students who volunteer their time at a local coffee shop whose every resource goes to fighting sex trafficking.

I am an aspiring writer. I’ve been working on a novel series for years. A couple of years ago I made the decision that when I do publish, I will give a portion of the sale of each book to fight the trafficking of humans for sexual purposes, a particularly heinous thing to me. (SVU watchers probably heard a doink, doink there.)

I can also help to raise awareness among those I know through social media and through this blog. Awareness is a first step. I don’t know that we will reabolish slavery in my lifetime–that’s like wanting to eliminate Organized Crime or Global Hunger– but I would like to see a significant reduction in numbers and more help set up for victims. It would be great progress just to hear the majority of people say that yes, there is a problem. Yes, in this country. Yes, in our own area. So many are still unaware because the very nature of this kind of slavery is covert, shrouded in secrecy.

So as my Helen Keller quote from a few days ago says, “I am only one…but I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” I can help to open some eyes.




Filed under Human Trafficking