This year for Valentine’s Day, we invited the survivors who visited our Drop-In Center over the last week to answer this question: What do you love about yourself?
Today, by mayoral proclamation, is Be More Kind Day in Seattle—and we are excited to be celebrating kindness along with local businesses, organizations, and individuals.
We mean well. We don’t intend to be insensitive. But sometimes our words are still hurtful to those who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation. With the help of some people who’ve felt the effect of unintentionally damaging words first-hand, we’ve created this list so we can better communicate love to these individuals.
I spent my childhood being trafficked for sex. When I was five years old, I was raped by my stepfather and uncle. Soon, my stepfather began to pass me around to his friends. This quickly escalated into strangers paying my stepfather for time with me and eventually being sold to a larger client base across multiple states.
“I had no idea this type of help was available.” These were the words that rang in my ears throughout the night and into the early morning, as I counted the hours for the sun to appear. Asmine*, a forty-two year old woman recovered in a coordinated effort between Seattle Police Department’s Vice Squad and Seattle’s anti-trafficking agencies, agreed to go to detox.