We hope Holyleton has given you insight into trafficking during the National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. We also hope you have learned how you can be a catalyst for change within your culture. Trafficking is not an epidemic that only happens to other people in other areas, but is happening right here, in our communities and to our youth. Human trafficking takes place in industrial and metropolitan areas, towns, and rural communities alike. Hoyleton’s Healing And Loving Oneself (HALO) focuses on mentoring youth and young adults, 11-25 years of age, who are identified as at-risk or survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The path to healing takes time and an advocate willing to fight alongside a client even when he/she cannot fight for themselves.
Below is a letter from a HALO survivor.
We encourage you to open your hearts and understand the courage it takes to move from a place of trauma to healing.
“What would I tell someone who’s just starting out at HALO? Well first, I’d say to them, ‘It’s not going to be easy.’ But I would also tell them that, ‘It’s worth every bit of time and effort.’ The healing and growth from the first session to the last will move mountains in whoever’s life.
Alexis (HALO advocate) is literally the reason I’m writing this. Not ’cause she made me, but because if it wasn’t for her and her fighting for me, because surely I wasn’t fighting for myself, I wouldn’t be here now where I am. I cannot say that I’m upset that I was ever invited into the program, ’cause I fought so hard against everyone who had my best interest, and they turned around and fought back.’
The most important thing, I think, is that I’ve learned so much. I learned about myself. I learned that I deserve to be treated good. I am not an object. I deserve to be loved. I learned that everyone has a story, and what you don’t deal with will eventually catch up with you. So find one person to share and talk with, even if it’s just a second. The moment you realize what’s inside that’s one less thing that’s going to eat at you. Alexis has taught me so much. One being that she’s not easy to get rid of. She is my sister/mom.”
*A special thank you to the HALO survivor for sharing their story and their creations.
If you know of an individual in need of help, please contact the HALO advocate at 618.688.4725. Or, if you are interested in supporting a survivor of human trafficking with a monetary donation or gift card, please call the Philanthropy Department at 618.688.7094.
To learn more regarding human trafficking awareness and prevention, please contact the Prevention Department at 618.688.4739. The Prevention Department offers in-community, educational opportunities for individuals, churches, or organizations interested in being a voice for change for victims and survivors of human trafficking. Together, we can fight against human trafficking and restore the social fabric of our communities. One Voice. One Mission. End Human Trafficking.