“Nobody said anything about prostitution. It just hung in the air like a slab of meat.”-Holly Austin Smith, survivor of DMST and Washington Times columnist
At the opening of Araminta’s Unchained Conference on Saturday, September 14, 2013, Holly Austin Smith shared the beginning of her story. It’s the story of a young girl in 8th grade, trying to fit in with friends, wishing to be “cooler”, hoping for someone to see her as “special”.
“When I was fourteen years old, I was lured into running away from home with a man I had met at a shopping mall in Atlantic County, New Jersey. “-Smith
It started out as a “friendship”, but as this man gained her trust and she began to feel overwhelmed in her life, Holly made the decision to run away. After meeting the man, she was taken to a motel room and introduced to another woman, who was told to “get her ready”. Slowly, the pieces started coming together. The word “prostitution” was never spoken, but it was clear what was happening.
Her story is like so many other girls who are preyed on at a young age when they’re still vulnerable. Unlike many who will be trapped in sex trafficking for years, Holly’s story ends with a testimony of survival. She has gone on to raise awareness on the issues of modern day slavery, writes for the Washington Times and is about to release her book, Walking Prey: How America’s Youth are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery.
I have to say, her speech had the most impact on me, and encouraged me to continue fighting for this cause.
I’ll be continuing with my support for Araminta Freedom Initiative and another nonprofit, Freedom 424, when I participate in the Run For Their Lives 5K Cross Country Race on October 19th. I can’t wait!
For those interested in viewing/listening to the individual breakout sessions from Unchained, Araminta should be sharing those in the upcoming month, and I will provide the link when it’s available!
Photo Source: newsworks.org
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