Some time ago, I promised to post stories of hope that would introduce the charities I work with to fight human trafficking. Somehow the days got away from me and I’ve been remiss in fulfilling that promise.
What better way to fix that than to not only introduce my first charity, but to also announce a book signing to benefit them!
Saturday, October 29th, Project Liberty will be hosting a walk-a-thon at Granger Meadows Park in DeWitt Township, Michigan. Registration for the walk-a-thon starts at 9:30, and lunch is served at noon. I’ll be there for the entire event, visiting and signing books. Signed copies of Throwaway and Suddenly a Spy will be available for $10 each, with proceeds from the day going to Project Liberty.
My oldest son will participate in the walk-a-thon as a representative of the group he started, 61 Strong.
I hope to see some of you there – come participate in the walk, or drop by to grab an autographed book. (I’ll even be giving one away!) If that isn’t incentive enough, come out so you can point and laugh at me for cutting my hair off and dying the remnants red… perhaps not my wisest choice ever, but I’m pretending it was exactly what I was going for.
All joking aside, Saundra (the founder of Project Liberty) was kind enough to share the story of the organization’s first rescue with us. It’s a little longer than my typical blog post, but well worth the read. It gives you a good idea of what the group does and, if you are a parent, will open your eyes to some extremely important truths we are seldom told.
So, without further delay, I will turn the post over to Saundra of Project Liberty.
A while ago, God allowed me to take part in rescuing a teenage girl who was only hours from being transported out of America by traffickers. She was only 14 years old when she met a guy online. He’d pretended to be a teenage boy to gain her trust – convincing her to meet in person.
After online chatting, she agreed to meet him at a park. Of course she didn’t tell anyone and turned up missing. She was kidnapped-TAKEN to a larger city!
Her mother, not knowing what had happened, contacted local law enforcement. Because of the chat they discovered on the girl’s computer, it was noted she “voluntarily” went to the park and therefore listed her as a runaway! No other law enforcement services were provided.
Our task force was called in when mom had nowhere to turn. Services were given at no cost. Distraught and blaming herself, the mother had also gone to the streets of the city to try and find her daughter. One evening I was asked by the private detective on our team to call the mother to distract her from looking for her daughter so the detectives and authorities could do their job without mom “blowing it out of the water.”
We were also concerned that, believing her daughter to be gone or dead, she would take her own life. I prayed and prayed for the right words to say, even though I kept getting her voicemail. I left many messages on her home phone and cell phone…telling her how much God loved her and her daughter, that she was a good mom, this was not her fault, and that I was praying for her and her daughter. At one point, I even left a prayer on her cell phone.
Her daughter was rescued that night! The traffickers had cut her hair, completely changed her appearance, drugged, beat, raped and forced her into prostitution. She was helpless. She had a birthday while away.
Thanks to the expertise help of our team, now called Project Liberty, she was found. The mother sent word of “Special Thanks” to the woman who made those phone calls that night, because the words God gave me to pray and say meant a lot and helped her and her daughter to survive.
Praise God! She was so grateful to those who assisted rescuing her daughter that night. I would love to meet her some day but, after arrangements were made by our team, immediate medical care was given to her daughter and they were whisked away – taken to an unknown place and given special protection. They did not return home and left with only the clothes on their back. I think of them and pray for them often. My life has never been the same from that day forward, and the nonprofit name of the ministry of Project Liberty was born under the parent organization of Daughters of Faith Ministries, Inc.
Since that day, I have prayed and wept with mothers and fathers who Project Liberty’s task force has assisted in bringing home their child safely. My heart is blessed for those found, but at the same time heavily burdened for so many more victims. Some are runaways some are not! Some are being searched for some are not.
Within 48 hours on the street, 1 out of 3 runaways will be approached by a trafficker and lured or taken into Modern-Day Slavery! Many of the victims are lured through the Internet. If we don’t find them we can’t help them. We at Project Liberty cooperate with law enforcement to help locate missing young adults and teens from the grasp of perpetrators “grooming” them for the purpose of selling their bodies. This IS going on in the USA!
AGAIN, I SAY IF WE DON’T FIND THEM WE CAN NOT HELP THEM. With the prayers, help and support from many we can find more. THERE IS HOPE!
-Saundra, Isaiah 61:1