Stories of Impact

In Her Own Words...

I want the world to know that living in this situation is terrifying and hopeless. In that time I encountered myself at the lowest that I can remember my life being. Internally without even knowing, I prayed for a chance to see the light, and it was answered with good company, new friends, and people I can trust, thanks again Restore Innocence.

~

I have learned that healing is a long hard journey. Through this journey, I know that I am no longer a victim. I am a human being just like you. I have learned that I get to have my own thoughts and feeling and I get to make my own decisions. I am no longer scared of those that hurt me so profoundly.

~

I want the world to know that just because I have a past, a story that is full of shame, and one that not many people truly understand, I just want to be like everyone else. I want to know love and I want to have a family that accepts me not for what I have experienced but for who I am. I want to have hopes and dreams. But the reality is, I do have a past of shame and I am not like you and I have come to terms with the fact that this is perfectly acceptable. What happened was a tragedy, but I want the world to know it has made me the strong, confident, capable woman I am today. And not everyone can say that.

~

I want everyone to know is that victims of human trafficking come from all walks of life-it doesn't just happen to people who are low income or anything. It knows no boundaries. I came from a very wealthy suburb and went to a top high school. I grew up never wanting for anything. I was blessed with that. Traffickers don’t discriminate. It can happen to literally anyone from all walks of life!

~

I have learned so many things in my healing process. I have learned to forgive and to treat everyone with kindness, especially other girls. You truly never know what someone else could be going through. I have learned that it really does get better-you just have to have faith and trust that it will. I have learned that there are still so many good people out there and that you can't make everyone suffer for what one person did to you. I have learned that by staying sick and having a chip on your shoulder and being mad at the world, you are giving that sorry excuse for a human being power over your life. He still has control over you if you let him continue to affect your life. I have learned that everything happens for a reason and God put this hardship in my life so that I could not only become a stronger woman but also so I could help other girls become stronger women, as well.
~

Throughout all my mistakes I’ve seen and experienced enough to know I can make it through the obstacles in life no matter how large or small. Getting out of this life is scary and for me, I thought it would be the hardest thing in the world. But I put those people in my past and moved forward to my highest potential, every day is still a struggle but now I look forward to waking up every day instead of being afraid to go to bed every night.

New Names, True Stories...

Callie’s family abused, neglected and mistreated her from her early childhood. When she was 17 she left that painful place to try to go to school and make it on her own. Without money or options, a boyfriend seemed like a safe way to feel cared for and protected. When he took her on a trip across the country for “vacation” and she found herself locked in a room with no escape, no communication, and no support system to call on, the nightmare began. After being trafficked across the United States for two years, she had a brief window of opportunity and ran with only the clothes on her back.

When she was referred to Restore Innocence through the Denver FBI, she had no idea how to trust and was certain that all people are selfish at the core. Restore helped her to find a trauma counselor, a job, receive dental and medical care, and showed her what unconditional acceptance feels like. Today, she has joy, hope and a future. She helps train new mentors, speaks for Restore and has the gift of a family who will never give up on her, and for the first time in her life, a place for her heart to call home.

~

Angie was a minor living in a group home. One day she and her roommate decided to run. She didn’t know where they would go but her roommate called a friend who came and picked them up. After a party, they ended up at a hotel, thinking it was just a place they’d stay for the night. But that wasn’t true. She was a prisoner. Her roommate had done her job and found someone “new” as she’d been mandated to. After being moved from place to place, and locked up for weeks on end, she was finally allowed to go with another victim to a café, where they were often watched. When a voice in her mind said “go now, run” she did, with the knowledge that it could mean beatings or even death.

She made it out alive and her testimony ended up helping the FBI conduct a major bust. When she met Rachel, her Restore Innocence mentor, she was afraid to leave her house. Through time together, she began to find emotional stability and the courage to begin a new life. She has become an amazing wife and mom. She has given the FBI permission to share her story with other girls, to help them know that they are not alone. Her dream is to own her own business and live on a farm. She’s an amazing wife and mom.

~

After months of torture and every conceivable abuse, Alison’s trafficker left her for dead on a curb a few blocks from a hospital. When she was still recovering from her wounds, she met Debbie, who became her Restore Innocence mentor. Debbie journeyed with her in the midst of drug use, a suicide attempt, and broken relationships. She celebrated her first year of freedom with her, helped her find a place to live and worked through the process with her to change her name.

When Alison had to go to Las Vegas and testify against her trafficker, seeing him face to face, Debbie traveled there too.  She attended the trial, stayed with her in the evenings as she cried, and gave her the courage to press on. She was there in the courtroom when Alison read her victim impact statement, and rejoiced with her when her trafficker was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Today, with Debbie as a mentor and forever friend, Alison is creating a new life for herself and helping other girls to do the same. She is on a state counsel to help advocate and educate about sex-trafficking. She is celebrating new hope and she will not be silenced.

~

(Restore Innocence permission required to use any content from this page.)