At 5 feet tall, and sort of shy, I’ve spent a big portion of my life feeling a little bit small. Or, at least, I’ve always felt as if I don’t stand out in a crowd. I have literally been stepped on before, because people didn’t see me. That being said, how could someone like me make any sort of difference in the world?
Well, no matter how small or shy I may be, God has put it on my heart to care for the less fortunate—especially those who have been victimized by the horrors of human trafficking. Working for WAR, Int’l has given me this opportunity and the ability to share the stories of the incredible women and children WAR, Int’l is privileged to serve. Yet, despite this wonderful opportunity, there are times when it feels as if my stories and pleas for help fall on deaf ears. It feels as if people have their own things to worry about—higher priorities than sheltering the wounded.
On one such frustrating day, I was working in the store. There were no customers, and I was feeling completely helpless. How can I make a difference in the lives of precious, at-risk women if I can’t get anyone to listen to their stories or buy the work of their hands? I decided to share my voice outside of the store—via the internet. I did a little research, found my local congressmen and congresswomen’s emails, sent them letters detailing the issue of trafficking in Michigan, listed ways we could improve our laws to protect minor victims, and states how we could better prosecute the guilty.
As I was writing these letters, a thought occurred to me—politicians are busy people with lots of priorities and agendas that probably rank higher than reading an email from some unknown 25 year old. A good friend of mine is a political aid to Michigan senator Glenn Anderson. I asked him the likelihood of any congressmen actually reading my email. Sadly, he said the chance was very slim. He asked what I was writing about. I told him how much I cared about improving Michigan’s laws in order to protect victims and raise awareness. My friend said he would mention my email to his boss—the senator—and see what came of it. He wasn’t overly optimistic but said it was definitely worth a try.
A few days later, I received an email from my friend. Using the research I had put together, the Senator had resolved to raise awareness and work to improve the laws. He even decided to move forward with a resolution in the Senate, making January “Human Trafficking Awareness Month” in Michigan. Come to find out, Senator Anderson had already been talking about improving other laws and statutes that would protect minors and make sex traffickers register on the list of sex offenders (something that is not currently required in Michigan). The statistics and information I passed along had simply started the ball rolling. With the support of other senators, the resolution to make January “Human Trafficking Awareness Month” in Michigan passed, and I received an official copy in the mail. The resolution illustrates the Senate’s resolution to support victims, improve laws and raise awareness. Officially, it doesn’t mean much. Yet, it’s a start. It is a gateway to better laws and greater awareness here in Michigan.