When I first escaped I had this idea that I would somehow drop back in to the life I had before. What I didn’t realize was that although that life still existed, I had changed in ways that I had not yet realized. That meant that the life I once had would not be the same.
Coming from the point of leaving with one suitcase and my life as the only things that still remained, I set out on a journey of discovery. I first had to do some important work to maintain my safety. Had it not been for organizations that helped me, I would have been hard pressed to figure any of it out. I was like the walking wounded. I suffered from horrible night terrors and still do today. I had to deal with constant fear of being found, financial disaster, friends and family that were afraid to talk to me, and feelings of non existent self worth just to name a few.
As I waded through, I began to figure out that the work was mine to do. No one could do it for me. Although I needed help, it was important to me to find answers for myself. Still, the work was and is part of the healing process. Financial struggles are a part of everyday life and one of the biggest issues we face is the need for training and educational resources. I was lucky in that I had a career before everything happened and I am slowly rebuilding my business. For many survivors, the lack of education and training is what holds them back in the pursuit of a new life. There are deadlines that loom over us to find a job, a place to live, transportation, answers to all the questions we have, and a way to navigate through that.
After over four years, I am finally feeling that I have both feet on the ground. It is still a struggle to deal with the trauma situations where I’m not sure of myself. I go for therapy probably will for seeable future. As a result of what I went through, I am committed to helping victims, survivors, and those who want to change the world in these circumstances. I work to help change laws, speak about my experiences to help people understand the complex world of Human Trafficking even as I continue to understand it myself, and I serve as a board of director member for a shelter. It is important for me to feel as though I am doing things to help others find hope after something like this.
As for my experience, I am thankful for the people who saved my life and who were willing to listen to me as I fell apart. They showed me grace and kindness at a time that I desperately needed that. They provided resources that helped me in my journey and I count myself lucky that they were there for me.