October 14th – My Independence Day

I had known for a while that’d I’d have to move.  I was in the process of trying to get out of my trafficking situation and it was becoming next to impossible to do while staying in the same city as my abuser.  I had begun to file police reports and make changes in my life as my traffickers were growing more aggressive.  I was in fear for my life in a very literal way and the day had come where I had no other option but to leave.  It was either 1) kill myself 2) wait to be killed or 3) leave.  So I chose to leave…

I hated it.  I had lived through hell and dramatic moments for years but this was an all new kind of torture.  I had just begun to develop good, strong friendships and was experimenting with the idea of loving someone, but I had to leave.  It all happened so quickly too; I didn’t even have time to think over all the details.  One moment I was calling the cops, another I was packing, the next I was gone. Some of the friends I cherished the most never even knew I was leaving.  I just disappeared– gone like a ghost that left behind a virus of rumors.  It was safer just to disappear.  Most of the people I knew didn’t have much of an idea about my double life, so there was no need to tell them now and bring extra people into my troubles.  It broke my heart though not to be honest.

My story felt like a bad Lifetime movie… one too drama and cheesy to be true.  I remember “my guy” following me out of town because he couldn’t stand not giving me one last kiss goodbye.  It was sappy romance that lit my heart and made it all the harder for me to run.  He was my first good (well at least semi-good) guy.  I think we thought that we were in love.  Maybe we were… but the move ruined us.

That was one of those moments where I allowed myself to say, “This isn’t fair!”  I was the victim in this situation and yet I had been treated like a criminal time and time again.  I was the victim but I was the one who had to pick up and leave everything I’d ever known just for the sake of safety.  It just wasn’t fair because in order to start over, I again had to give up everything I knew.  As horrible as it was though, it was this break that allowed hope to grow.

Just a few years ago today, I found real freedom for the first time.  With much help, I landed myself in a completely new environment.  I was terrified and had only $30 left to be used to start a new life with a new identity.  But it happened.  By the grace of God only did it happen.

Call me a cheesy but I’d promised myself for years that I’d play this song if I ever “got out”… I got to play it for myself on October 14th that year.

May this blog serve as an education to those who do not yet know or understand the atrocities of trafficking and may it serve as encouragement to those who understand it all too well.

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