Rose: Today was bittersweet. It was great to bonding with everyone on the trip; hearing more about their politics, their passions and their questions. I felt very privileged and excited to be in a space of like-minded or at least, as (or even more) moved and convicted as me. I caught myself thinking about possibilities and post-trip plans often. I am really excited to create more awareness around the issue, and engage in more conversations surrounding everything from reproductive rights to human trafficking.
Bud: In the documentary we watched, “Dreamcatchers”, the central focus was Brenda, who was a former prostitute and trafficking victim who had transitioned out of The Life and was now engaging in prevention awareness as well as supporting and guiding other women and girls in similar predicaments. She was a light in some very dark situations. She took the little she had, broken heart and worn out knees, and she purposed to help those women survive without having to sell themselves. I think what was equally remarkable was the fact that she was never judgmental towards the women she worked with, regardless of where they were and what they were doing. She saw herself in each and every one of those women, and she kept on giving, even though her trauma took so much away from her. She is such a beautiful example of what activism should look like.
Thorn: As a woman who has experienced sexual assault and as a cousin, and friend to other women who have experienced the same, these women’s stories really resonated with me. But more so, I was able to see how structural violence in the form of economic exclusion can tangibly influence the outcome of sexual assault. For me, assault resulted in depression, social awkwardness, a low self esteem and dysfunctional relationships with male figures. for those women and girls it resulted in prostitution, human trafficking, PTSD, drugs and dysfunctional families. The main difference between and me and those women and girls is socio-economic background and economic inclusion. Had these women had access to even a fraction of the resources I had after my assault I believe that the idea of going on the streets would have been foreign at the very least. Economic violence is very least and society is trapping huge demographics of black and latino families in cycles of poverty which make lifestyles such as human trafficking appear as acceptable alternatives. Economic subjugation is the reason Human Trafficking exists and we need to confront this reality. The documentary also brought to light how the pimps were victims of a system of repression, and abuse as well. Some of these men were abused and neglected too and they simply passed on the pain to those women they found and came across. Indeed they are culpable of egregious crimes, but we need to realize that we too are responsible in the creation of some of these criminals.