I opened the envelope, Mint waited impatiently, her beaming face telling me what I would find as I unfolded her report card. Two A’s and not a single ‘F’. For a moment all of our struggles and difficulties of the last six months were forgotten as we celebrated this victory.
Having not been in school for several years, Mint’s accomplishment was a testament of a much deeper change happening in her life. Barely into her teenage years, Mint was left without supervision as her father spent all of his time and means on alcohol.
Without any structure or supervision, Mint soon dropped out of school. Her late nights led to late mornings, and soon she discovered she needed money to support her new lifestyle. It began with serving drinks and dancing at bars.
A friend clued her in on a way that would earn a lot more money. Selling her body for sex. She was connected with a “friend” who promised a certain salary if she worked for him. Enticed by the offer, Mint accepted. As it often is with traffickers, his promises were not all that they seemed to be.
She earned far less than promised, but leaving was not an option. She had seen first hand what would happen if she tried to back out.
Then an opportunity came, as a friend contacted the police on her behalf. But still, as she agreed to work with the police to bring down her trafficker, she continued to live at home and continued to be trafficked.
It was at this time that I met Mint. It was clear that she would need to be completely removed from her present circumstance if she ever was truly was to be given a chance to be free of that lifestyle. We opened our home to her and enrolled her in school. For the first time in her life she was given structure and boundaries, and realized she did not care much for it. However, each time she ran away, we convinced her to come back. Each moment she relapsed we showed grace and forgiveness.
Mint still has a life-long road of restoration. That is why this victory is in no way small. She has begun a life of healing, not only from the physical abuse, but also by the healing that can only be given by the grace of God.
Mint is now living back at home, her father now working a stable job. We are continuing the work of bringing her traffickers to justice. In the meantime, we hope to continue to help Mint and her father and ask that you would pray that God would continue to heal their hurts and that we will be able to celebrate many more Victories with Mint in the years to come!
(Names and other details of this story have been changed to protect Mint and those who work in opposition to human trafficking.)
written by Kara Dunham