Recidivism is extremely high amongst the women and children I work with. In The Pull Back In, I talk about a few of the external influences for why a girl might run back to “the life”. This week, I would like to address a few additional factors that go on inside almost every one of the women and girls I have worked with.
Pimps and traffickers don’t see women as precious individuals, but as a means to make a profit. They go through extraordinary measures to abuse the women physically and mentally. They take away their freedom to choose, telling them how to act, who to be, what to look like, even when and how much they are able to eat. I heard one woman say that she even had to ask to go to the bathroom. She wasn’t allowed to do anything without his permission.
Part of the trafficker’s goal is to make the women completely and utterly reliant on him. If he can tear her down enough and strip away any sense of identity that she has, she’ll be more willing to do the things he demands and will be less likely to leave. It is often successful when paired with the many other challenges the women face including bad credit, lack of financial literacy, poor life skills, and little education. The women are truly left with no other options but to stay.
Another degrading practice, and one that is on the rise, is the art of branding. A branding is a tattoo or permanent marking to show ownership. I’ve seen them positioned on the back of a girl’s neck, on her chest or down her arms. While it might be a badge of honor while the woman is in the early stages of “romance” with her pimp, it is later very embarrassing and a constant reminder of the life that she is trying to leave.
It is extremely sad to me that we hold no real value for many of the individuals in our society. We often overlook the broken, the hurting and those that are different than us. Have you ever been involved in stripping someone of their rights or dignity? This week, reflect on the many freedoms we enjoy everyday. If you are feeling bold, comment on a time that someone stood up for you and how that made you feel.
PC: Do The Hard Work