The Harriet Tubman Movement directly assists victims of human trafficking along their road to freedom.
When we first met Katie, she was scared, abused, addicted and confused. According to Katie, she wasn’t trafficked. Her boyfriend just asked her to do things to get some money for their drugs. He promised that it wouldn’t be forever. It was just until they could save up some money. If she could earn $500 per day, it would be enough. That was only 8-10 strangers per day that abused her body. Katie had left this boyfriend before, but the addictions drove her back; or his promises of love, or fear, or other lies. If she left, there was nowhere to go. Katie had burned every bridge and destroyed every relationship, except with her boyfriend. Her parents would not take her back because of the addictions. They already had custody of her kids and they were doing enough.
Katie had tried several times on her own to become clean, She wanted to show her family she could do it. She went to homeless shelters, lived in her car, tried different support groups, but there were always barriers. It was always so hard. She could not get a job because of arrests that happened while she was being trafficked. The shelters could not find housing for her, or it was in the worst part of town. The support groups could not keep her need for numbing the pain at bay. The path to recovery seemed impossible.This is a common story our Harriet Tubman Movement Advocates hear.Katie eventually reached out to her old family Pastor who contacted the Harriet Tubman Movement. We presented Katie with options for help and a stable presence to advocate for her. For the first time in a long time, she had options for a new life and the support to make choices for positive change.
Choosing change is not easy. We worked with her for a year while she wavered and tried working with various agencies on her own. We stayed by her side through every step, waiting until she was ready to commit to a permanent change. Our Advocates helped her apply for a year-long residential Recovery Program that would address the addictions and the trauma from being trafficked. This program required hard work to achieve the needed changes. Katie bravely chose the hard road.Fourteen months later, she graduated from the Recovery Program. We stood and cheered with Katie’s parents and children, as she crossed the stage and received her graduation certificate!!!
These are the moments we live for! We know there are more steps in Katie’s road to freedom. We will continue to support and celebrate each milestone along the way! We are committed to helping other “Katies” find their way to freedom whenever and wherever we can.