Sex trafficking has received a lot of press this month. Between Backpage.com and laws passed in California – everyone has something to say these days on the issue. With this extra press has come the
ever-present comment in articles that teens have chosen this life and should be left alone.
Teenagers think they know everything because they have not yet learned how much they don’t know. They don’t have the benefit of foresight or of past experience. A teenager looks down the road, sees a turn, and thinks that’s the end – their happily ever after. They don’t realize that it’s simply where their life takes a turn and continues. They don’t realize that around that curve, for better or worse, are further consequences of their choices.
Child sex trafficking victims are no different than other teenagers when it comes to making decisions. They see two roads in front of them: a nice short one and a much longer, rockier one. The short road is easy to navigate, it’s familiar, they know exactly what will happen next. The long road is terrifying. Navigating that long road requires the support of others; the work is hard, excruciating at times; and they can’t see the end of the road. How can they go down a road without knowing what’s waiting for them at the end?
As we’ve said many times before in other blog posts: teenagers need the support of adults. They need guidance from those who have been there before, who know that the long road must be traveled, and who know that it is worth the journey. Teenagers need someone who will show up and fight for them when they lose their way. How are you being called to help the life of a teen?
*This article was extracted from a longer blog post we posted in October “They Don’t Know Everything (But Don’t Tell Them That)”