"Memoir of a Teen Sex Trafficked"
Stories are powerful.
They have the power to inspire us, teach us, stir emotions within us, broaden our perspective, change our mind, embolden us, spur us to act, or let us know we’re not alone. Stories connect us to one another. We can share our passions, hardships, joys, griefs, and our overall human experience. Through stories we are able to forge strong emotional bonds with people from all walks of life all over the world. In the words of one of my favorite storytellers, Madeleine L’Engle, “stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.”
As advocates against slavery, seeking out the stories of those who have experienced human trafficking first-hand is crucial. Their stories of hardship and triumph allow us to put names, faces, and lives to the bleak, and often overwhelming, statistics surrounding modern-day slavery. They can help foster a deeper and more genuine empathy for victims and survivors alike. When we allow these stories to take root in our hearts, I believe we become more impassioned and motivated to take action and gain a greater understanding of our role as advocates.
I had the opportunity to read a true story of a survivor of sex trafficking that reminded me of the capacity stories have to move and change us. In “Memoir of a Teen Sex Trafficked,” Alexa Taylor shares her story working in the sex industry, and allows readers a raw, unedited look into her journey through darkness.
Without giving away too much, this narrative shows Taylor’s misdirected desire to be loved and wanted. Desires fueled by an emotionally absent father, her early exposure to porn and bullying, and later life experiences, snowballed into exploitation and abuse. Ultimately, this led Taylor to a place of destitution. She says,
“Selling myself along with the abuse from it and my interactions with tricks had all made me feel worthless. I didn’t feel I could ever overcome what I had been through. I had turned myself into trash. And trash can’t be turned into treasure.”
The beginning of her story caught me off-guard. Taylor begins by delving into her seemingly average, upper middle class family: “We were fortunate to live in a mini mansion with a high six figure price tag. My father worked in corporate America, putting in long hours to provide our family with the nicest things.” My own shock to what seemed to be normalcy preceding the dark events brought about a realization. I think, without even realizing it, we expect stories of human trafficking to fit into a mold, some sort of generic scenario that we can wrap our minds around. However, there is no “One Size Fits All” when it comes to stories of those who have been victimized, exploited, and abused. That’s part of what makes seeking out personal accounts so important.
Every victim and survivor’s story is unique and valuable, and their stories deserve to be heard.
Although Taylor was once called “a slave, a call girl, and a criminal,” her story did not end there. Through The Atlanta Hope Center and her own spirit of resiliency she “got out of a life of horrors and went on to do great things.” Taylor has now graduated college, is happily married with two daughters, owns her own business, and is a published author.
Taylor dedicated her book:
“to anyone who feels trapped in a place of darkness. [She] hope[s] this book gives you hope and confidence. Your life is valuable. Go live the life you were meant to live!”
My desire for advocates mirrors these sentiments. I encourage you to seek out first-hand accounts like Taylor’s to better understand and fight for those trapped in places of darkness. I encourage you to pursue hope with confidence and ferocity, to share “life is valuable" as your battle cry. Go live a life that is life-giving to those who are vulnerable and exploited - the life an advocate is meant to live.
If you’d like to find out more about Alexa Taylor and read her book, visit https://www.alexaataylor.com/.
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About the Author
Jacquelyn Chauviere Buss is a Diet Dr. Pepper addict with a deep love for people, especially babies. She recently graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Business Honors and a minor in Psychology. She is passionately hopeful to see slavery eradicated in her lifetime.