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.

Welcome to the Lisieux Community

Thank you for joining us here at the Lisieux Community.  Our first residents moved into our first house (pictured here!) in August 2014.  I want to extend an invitation for you to walk along with us.

What our Board of Directors has found is that we are not here to change anyone other than ourselves.  As we have built the organization, we have learned about heartbreaking things as well as seeing strength and resilience that we’ve never seen before.  In other words, we are not the same people who started a year and four months ago.  As we change, so do our interactions with others.

We are providing a house where four women will be safe as they learn to live life in a new way.  Most women do not choose to participate in prostitution and, because of the limits of that lifestyle, they haven’t learned to care for themselves in a healthy way.  We will share a little bit about the people and organizations who are working together to provide opportunities for the women to grow.  We will also share some of the tools we are using.

Get ready to rejoice with us as milestones are reached and maybe cry with us when life is difficult.  Above all, we ask for your prayers as we move forward.

reachin’ for something gr8r

Some of the art work found in our Memphis house represents the journey the women in our program will take – from lost dreams to looking for something greater to being a person that others envy.

The piece above, called “reachin’ for something gr8er – reachin’ for a better day”  was created by Memphis artist Frankd Robinson using “found objects.” The woman is looking at her heart which is in her hand. This is the work we do in our program: looking deep inside.

Photo by Taro Yamasaki.

Surviving trauma and trafficking

The Lisieux Community provides a home for women who have survived trauma, addiction, trafficking and prostitution, all part of life on the streets. The women learn to live in community as they access other organizations to assist in healing. We believe that the women do not begin a life on the streets on their own, but through the culture in which we live; we want to inspire change now to transform the culture itself.

Photo by Taro Yamasaki.