What is Trafficking?

Walk down any street in Memphis proper and you will see it—women walking on the street. Sometimes there will be a “come hither” look as she asks someone to stop and pay attention. Sometimes there is a confident stride—purse slung over her shoulder, moving at a fast clip—she has just made some money and is going to get the next “hit” of her drug. Sometimes she has no control of the money, there is someone waiting outside the door to take the money and send her on to another “trick.” The person who takes the money will supply the drugs when he/she is ready to, and not until the woman brings in a certain amount of money. If she doesn’t bring in that required amount, she will probably pay physically as well as having her needs withheld.

“Why does she do that?” you ask. She is always looking for someone to fill her need for love and affection. The song “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places” probably didn’t have trafficking in mind but the principle is the same. At a crucial time during childhood, someone let her know that the only affection she would receive was if she gave her physical self to them. What we usually don’t realize is that she gave a part of her soul as well. That person was a trafficker, buying and selling her as a child. Because once that message is seated in her soul by an original buyer, she will now be for sale, still looking for love and affection. Sometimes, because of the anger, she doesn’t seem to be looking for love and affection but the core message is “Please love me!” or “Please accept me!” Sometimes another person controls the sale and sometimes she makes the agreement, but always, her conscious self has no control.

We have found 3 scenarios that propel women into trafficking:

The first is the child from the family that is not stable, where emotional needs are not met. This happens not because the parents do not love the child but because they do not know how to live out love for the child (because of their own wounds).

The second scenario is the family that is stable most of the time but a crisis happens: divorce, death, loss of a job, etc. The parents are working so hard to recover their own lives that the child is left to fend for him/herself. In either of these scenarios the child is vulnerable to anyone who shows love and that is what a trafficker does at the beginning—to lure a child into the trap.

The third scenario is the woman who married without marketable skills, never worked and her spouse even took care of the family finances. If the relationship ends, she has no way to earn a living, to take control of her life; and she turns to men.

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