The hideous secret Ohio is hiding…
The hideous secret Ohio is hiding…
I’m still shocked at what I learned. It started out pretty innocuous, running kids places, a little yard work, double date with another awesome Cincinnati writer friend of mine, brief monsoon (okay, it just rained, but crazy torrential downpour style) – and then came the invitation.
I had no idea an invitation to a concert would turn into unearthing one of the most hideous hidden truths about our state.
In 2015, of my daughters’ friend’s mom invited her to an upcoming Taylor Swift concert. Sounds awesome, right? I didn’t know if this was “a thing” and my two sons, who then were 17 and 19 at the time, never had this opportunity. So I did some investigating. Ticket costs were between $130-$300. The mom wasn’t attending the concert. Who can blame her at those prices?
I wasn’t familiar with the arena, so I looked into that, too. Seemed like it would be easy to lose someone. I started leaning toward, “No.”
But I also wondered if I was being over-protective as a mom… I admit I grew up in a small town in the Northwest. I’ve been here nearly 20 years and the traffic still challenges me.
Before I got to Ohio, I’d been in one traffic jam. It was caused by a herd of cows crossing the highway.
So I know there’s a lot I don’t know. I know I can be a little naïve.
Back to the concert.
Part of me was mainly concerned about the crowd, the girls getting lost, drunk people acting badly towards these two beautiful girls, or the two of them breathing in something other than air.
I had no idea that those should be the least of my concerns.
One of the people I asked what they thought (my husband was out of town on business, so I had to make this decision solo) was my nearly 20 year old son. He’s in the music industry (Christian band Waveshapes) and knows more about this sort of thing. Turns out his fiancé’s friend survived an abduction attempt at a concert in Columbus when she was 14 years old. These 20-somethings knew about the sex trade in Ohio. The I-71 free way access doesn’t help.
I was clueless. But it’s real.
As it turns out, Ohio has an issue with being a leader in human sex trafficking.
Toledo is #4 in the nation.
This year alone, over 1000 kids in Ohio will be abducted and enter the sex trade industry.
As I started to research this online, I lost my appetite, my heart started to pound, caught in my throat, and my eyes have been wet for hours as I research and write this. My daughter didn’t understand my tears for these girls her age that I weep for. Someday, when she has a girl of 12-14, like this mom, she might.
Here’s what I learned that I didn’t know:
- These girls are branded (tattooed) by their pimps to mark them as his property. Like cattle. Horrifying.
- There are companies trying to educate and help. We should support them.
- Cincinnati, where I live, has a fairly significant sex-trade industry. Thriving, even.
- This year, over 1000 women and Ohio teenagers will disappear into the industry.
- The most common age to become involved in the sex trafficking industry in Ohio is 13.
- People care.
- There’s stuff you can do to help.
Too few of us realize how precious ALL of us are to Him.
So here’s my dare for today.
I dare us moms with our laptops and lattes to WAKE UP. Take a moment to think about how we are being brave in the middle of our luxury.
Think just a moment about our own daughters going to the mall with a friend and not coming home, but rather being sold into slavery. Please understand I’m not encouraging bubble wrapping your kids – nor am I fear mongering. There’s damage done to children by being overprotective, too. That’s not what this is about today. I’m guessing not all of us are aware that Ohio has an issue with the human trafficking industry. I’m guessing that I’m not alone in thinking too many of us are wandering around with “first world” problems while we have “third world” problems happening right under our noses.
These things didn’t exist when I was a kid like they do now. The world gets darker daily.
Sorry to be a downer, but in the middle of the moments where we’re so busy navel gazing and fussing about our husbands not paying enough attention to us and/or their verbal or physical abuse, we need to take a moment and realize that WE HAVE OPTIONS MANY DO NOT.
And someone needs to model healthy interactions for our daughters – and their friends.
Honestly, I paused a moment before I told the other mom what I’d decided and why. I tried to just be loving and appreciative in our discussion, and I took a deep breath and told my daughter what I had decided and why.
At some point during the discussions I told my adult son, “I hate being a grown up sometimes.” Honestly, I really hate the horrors of this world we live in.
Dare you to pray about what God will have you do. Double dog dare you to check the Pure Hope Foundation website – this is right in our corner of the woods, folks.
Love to you,
I also now have one extra weekend available in 2016 if your church or conference is looking for a speaker. I choose to speak just a handful of times a year, but I did end up with an opening. You can contact us through the Greater Impact website. 🙂
I have a friend in Richland County who has been working as an ambassador to help the young girls in Ohio to escape trafficking & the Toledo area has been terrible for years. Another friend is helping here in Columbus. They recently posted this helpful information on FB. http://www.foreverymom.com/what-parents-need-to-know-about-sex-trafficking/#.Vemz7NKiR8Z.facebook
I thought this might help all families on what to do to keep your children safe.
Merciful and loving God you healed people and saved them from stormy tempests. Be with us, our families and our friends this day and keep us faithful and calm in your loving embrace through the pain, through the fear, through the turmoil and bring us safely to you in each precious moment of our lives through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, and the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
I live in Southern California near the Mexican border (—actually, I live in hotels and planes but you know what I mean!) —Human trafficking is huge business for drug cartels in So. Calif. and goes back to many times when the economy has collapsed. It is a nightmare. Fathers train sons to bring in women (-just take them out of parks, malls, you-name-it). Uncles provide security. Moms launder the money and grandmas mind the babies. The whole chain is completely corrupted. Everyone has a hand from the central bankers who devalue the currency to the police, to the army. Neighbors are scared to rat on pimps. Taxi drivers return girls who try to run away. Government complicity makes it impossible to wipe out. . . . . I pray all the time but we need safe houses, serious therapy, job skills, legal protection (—although that is often just ignored), it is truly, completely overwhelming.
“. . . .Sorry to be a downer, but in the middle of the moments where we’re so busy navel gazing and fussing about our husbands not paying enough attention to us and/or their verbal or physical abuse, we need to take a moment and realize that WE HAVE OPTIONS MANY DO NOT. . . .” —Amen, we are completely empowered and usually without excuse!!! The anger that arises (from my own expectations) when my husband doesn’t do what I want is actually selfish and really arrogant [—Obviously, I am bracketing off emotionally unavailable, narcissistic personalities and various mental disorders. I don’t mean them.] If we got out there and helped others —along with our husbands, we probably won’t even have these issues personally.
This is huge. I’ve been “aware” for several years – and it scares me deeply. There’s another Christian lady, Christine Caine, who is also leading this movement of rescue and awareness. The way she describes it is unreal. Somewhere around 27 million slaves worldwide. And she breaks it down to how our very actions – pornography addiction, putting up a defense against this reality – drives into the trafficking business. Accepting to educate yourself and taking active initiative to reshape this world – spreading the Gospel, living for Jesus Christ, reaching out to do your part (#wewelcomerefugees) – we can bring hope to the hopeless, light in the midst of darkness and bring more people to Jesus Christ.
Praying for you as you work to define that line between protecting your daughter and allowing her to live her life.
Love to you.
Nina, I feel your pain. There was a story on FB today about a young mom who noticed a 10 year old girl stalking her and her 5 year old daughter at a Target store.. turned out the 10 year old was being forced to go find other younger little girls to bring in. This was right under the parent’s nose! I guess there is a “thing” where they watch for the parent to have their back turned while loading the items into the car and grab the child.
My point is this… There are dangers everywhere. Sure, a concert is a great place to kidnap because of all the people around making noise. But so is the park, or walking home from school, or riding her bike to a friend’s house. I uderstand your fear. I would have offered to drop off AND pick up my daughter, given her a cell phone that has the tracking turned on, and had her text me when she got to her seat and when she leaves her seat to come outside after. I would not have denied my child this out of my own fear of a “what if” type of thing..
I heard a young lady at a speech competition speak about tradficking. She is part of a group that puts bars of soap in hotels along the Rt 1-75 route that gives the girls a number to get out of their slavery.
Comments are closed.