A Story Worth Reading

WARNING: Story contains some sensitive and graphic language. Names and locations have been generalized and/or changed to protect sensitive parties involved.

Lucy is a business owner who lives in an affluent south suburb of Chicago. She worked very hard to be able to afford to bring her family from poverty and now was able to give them the life she felt they deserved. Great school district, beautiful parks, and little to no crime.

She had heard of human trafficking and even seen it on occasion in her old neigborhood she grew up in. However, she knew that by being in a much safer and peaceful community would mean that her daughter would never see such a tragedy. 

One day she was at home and it was a stunningly beautiful day. People were out walking their dogs and going for bike rides for exercise. She had all of her windows open to enjoy the weather. Suddenly she heard a knock on her door. Panicked and hurried she heard the knocks grow louder and more desperate. 

Lucy rushed to the door and opened it to see a young woman, clearly beaten and crying. Her clothes were ripped and torn. And in her hands was a small baby crying hysterically. Lucy quickly brought her inside, looking around to see if the woman's car was parked nearby or a significant other maybe speeding away from the scene.

Lucy instructed the young woman to sit on the couch and she ran into the kitchen and grabbed some water and her phone to call 9-1-1. Before she could dial the numbers, the woman begged Lucy not to finish the call. She drank the water as if she hadn't drank water in days. 

"Please do you have some apple sauce or anything for my baby?"

Lucy ran to get some food for the baby and a towel to clean off the young woman. "Please, honey, tell me what happened!"

The young woman began describing her living arrangements. She was kept in a boarded room in the basement by her boyfriend.

He had promised her love and provision when they had just met in a way she had never known. He gave her gifts and affection that made her feel she was his everything. He was a successful man with money and motivation. Everything seemed to be going well until one day when he turned violent. It started with verbal abuse here and there. But every time he followed it up with flowers, an apology, and an ode to never do it again. Once it turned physical, he began threatening her that if she were to leave, there would be know one that would take her or care for her. 

She felt stuck.

One day he was getting drunk and had friends over. Her role was to make sure him and his friends had enough to eat and drink throughout the night. One of the friends began looking at her inappropriately. The boyfriend noticed and she feared he was going to doing something to the friend. But instead he offered her to him. "$200 and she is yours for the night." 

It happened once. Twice. And soon it happened everyday. 

He stopped loving her and began using her and trafficking her to anyone who would pay. She gave up all hope and all desire to live. He constrained her into that boarded room in the basement and gave her just enough food and water to not die.

One day she noticed a bump in her stomach getting larger and larger. Nausea became a regular occurrence. It became obvious she was pregnant. Not allowed to leave the house, she ended up having her baby in that same room as she was facing medical complications. She eventually made it through the experience and her boyfriend immediately began selling her again. Beatings became regular again and her life which was meaningless before, at least had some purpose in taking care of this child.

That purpose became a reality when one day the man went from beating her to threatening to hurt the child. Laying there realizing that if she died, the baby would be left to him but if anything happened to the baby, she couldn't live anyways. That pushed this young woman over the edge. After he went back upstairs, she waited until she couldn't hear any noises from upstairs. She wrapped up her baby and put some of her most presentable clothes on. 

She used her fingernails to rip the wood off the basement window and then used a piece of that wood to break the window. Sunlight flooded the basement as she could hear panicked noises form upstairs. She used her body to shield her baby and she pushed through the broken glass to the backyard. 

She ran across the yard and through the neighbor's yard and to Lucy's front door.

Lucy in utter shock and disbelief had just learned that this woman was being trafficked in her own neighborhood, within houses of hers. Affluent and safe, the most attractable aspects of moving to this suburb had just been made irrelevant. 

Lucy finally gathered herself and called 9-1-1. She explained the situation and the young woman and baby were rescued. 

This is all based on a true story of human trafficking told to us at Provision Lab. "Lucy" has been a part of our efforts to stop human trafficking since the first annual RFTL 5K in 2014. 

Our efforts are your efforts. You can help save these women and children. There are ways you can be a part of the change right now and change lives. This young woman now knows freedom but there are many out there that still need your help.

Don't just want the change. Be the change.


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