When I first dug deep into the fight against human trafficking these words of William Wilberforce struck a chord within me that could not be quieted-
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
I didn’t know what I was getting into. I honestly admit it was a call I never expected.
About a decade ago I was introduced to a handful of people who had started raising awareness in our community. The initial meeting was so powerful as we shared our stories we were all moved to tears.
That’s what this kind of fight looks like.
On one of my early trips to Washington DC (to attend an anti-trafficking training) I met a young woman who shared her personal story with me after we shared a cab ride back from the capital. I remember her urgency for bringing hope to the many women who experienced the same tragedy. She had a dream to provide resources and help them on their journey into the future.
One moment that will be forever etched in my memory took place on a tour of the capital rotunda. As we walked in she shared her ideas for survivor training and her stance on the “faith” part being non-negotiable. I knew somehow her determination would make her dreams a reality.
The tour guide was giving a detailed history of the paintings on the panels of the rotunda,- the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the landing of Columbus, George Washington’s resignation, etc. And then he came to the painting of the baptism of Pocahontas. I know I had taken this tour before, maybe more than once over the years, but this guide was more in depth and provided more detail with his discourse. He began to share how Pocahontas was baptized and how her name was also changed with her life, how she would now be known as Rebecca. With the unfolding story my new friend was frozen and emotionally shaken. I didn’t know what had happened. What had I missed? When I asked if she was OK she explained that her trafficker had nicknamed her Pocahontas. But her given name was really Rebecca. And it wasn’t until she escaped that life that she was again known by her true identity.
Today Rebecca is truly living out her dreams in her new life, the life she was created to live.
Not only has she created a workbook for survivors since then, but also an entire online training course for advocates and survivors alike.
Recently she debuted her story, a vulnerable open hearted exposé of the life she lived as Pocahontas.
The most intriguing part of the book to me, which most women can relate to, was the pull of just wanting to be loved and accepted that Rebecca sought after as she struggled to fulfill her true identity in –
This may not be your story or your experience. But if you heed it as a precautionary tale you may prevent this from being your daughter’s story, your sister’s story or maybe even the girl next-door. #Jointhepursuit
Because my friend, you may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know!
You can read about this experience and more in Rebecca’s book –