A couple of years ago I stumbled across a website that I found intriguing. It linked to an internet radio station and had fascinating shows lined up that informed us, entertained us, and helped nurture the strength and confidence inside us. Of course, I was hooked immediately. There was an added benefit- we got to have blog pages of our own right on the site!
This website is herewomentalksocial.com. I met Kay Van Hoesen, a fabulously talented woman who created the place, and others who had joined, needing to find their footing again. I shared some empowering poetry I'd written and found it had been appreciated. Over the past couple of years, I've thoroughly enjoyed my attachment to the site. I don't get there nearly as much as I used to, given the time constraints in my life, but I do always return, like a baby bird returns to her nest.
This is where I met Dottie Laster, as well. And this is where my blinders came off to an insidious crime against humanity. Not too long after I joined I found and listened to Dottie's radio show, TRAFFICKED. She exposes and explains the underworld of human trafficking of all kinds- slavery, sex. She reports on the ongoing efforts to prosecute those guilty of trafficking. And to this very day, she fights for the victims. Her company, lasterglobal.com seeks to bring awareness to companies about how to keep from hiring people who are being trafficked.
Breaking news came across the HWTS wire one day. A young woman had reached out to this very site and Dottie in an attempt to be rescued. After much machinations, terrifying moments, and a team of angels, she succeeded. She was brought to a facility specializing in helping those who have suffered long-term abuse and needed long-term care. It has been a long bumpy road, but she is healing and growing and learning what it is to be free and responsible for her own life.
Kay asked if I would write a short story celebrating this young woman's freedom as well as bring awareness to the plight of so many. I agreed readily, and FREEDOM IN CHAINS is the result. I initially released it here, on my website, and simul-posted it on others' sites who agreed to do so, on the anniversary of her rescue. But now, I feel like it needs a permanent place to live. A place where people can see it, purchase it, and know that by doing so, they've taken their BLINDERS OFF to this worldwide crime against humanity.
‘FREEDOM IN CHAINS’ releases today, and it is a bittersweet moment. I wish I didn't have to write it. I wish there was no such depraved act such as human trafficking. But there is, and I refuse to put my head in the sand. Whenever I write something regarding trafficking, I use the phrase, BLINDERS OFF. This is to bring to our attention how so often we put them on to deny what's going on around us, and trafficking is as close as our next door neighbor in many cases.
Proceeds from the sale of this short story will benefit http://www.millionkids.org/
Straight from their website, this is who they are and what they do:
Million Kids is the creator of the “Not In My Backyard”® anti-human trafficking campaign.
Million Kids is a 501(c)(3) public benefit nonprofit (EIN# 26-3174662) that combats human trafficking. Locally, we serve on the Riverside County Anti-Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT). We help activists and communities develop effective anti-trafficking programs in their locales.
At Million Kids, we…
§ provide educational, medical, and legal aid to survivors of trafficking and exploitation;
§ offer prevention programs that help children, youth and adults to stay free and to recognize how traffickers work;
§ equip activists and provide strategic support to assist law enforcement.
RESTORE • PROTECT • EMPOWER
Million Kids serves on the Riverside County Anti-Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT). We educate and engage individuals, organizations and corporations about human trafficking.