*Trigger Warning: The following is a true story of a survivor of human trafficking. This story includes sensitive language surrounding sexual assault. Please consider this before reading further.
Love146 met Peggy* when she was 5-years-old. She came to a feeding center they set up in a street community of children at high risk for sexual exploitation and trafficking. She was malnourished and had so much fear in her eyes. She screamed at the sight of men. Her injuries and infections seemed to answer questions that she wasn’t ready to speak about, yet we also saw a bright spirit in her.
When Love146 gave her a school uniform and backpack, she was overjoyed. Every day at the feeding center, she would sit down to make up drawings with pencils or listen intently to story time. As the details of her exploitation became clear, Peggy was admitted to Love146’s Survivor Care in 2014.
“My first day in Love146’s care was the beginning of a beautiful life for me,” she recently recalled. “Before, I was just sleeping in a pushcart with my family and we begged in the streets every day to have money.”
It was in Love146’s care, she told them, where she first saw a swing.
Part of her process of recovery included seeing her traffickers brought to justice. The court case against her perpetrators was in motion. With the support of Love146 staff, she chose to testify against her exploiters, and they are now convicted and imprisoned.
Today, Peggy is a bright, extroverted girl who loves picking vegetables, taking care of animals, wearing headbands, making art and music, visiting the aquarium, and going to the mall.
*Peggy’s name has been changed.
As a Dressember grant partner, Dressember advocates have the chance to widen their impact, and help Love146 reach and care for trafficked youths like Peggy.