SEX TRAFFICING SYMPOSIUM

Yesterday I attended a sex trafficking symposium at the Museum of Tolerance.  The event was put on by the YWCA and lasted for over four hours.  There were a number of politicians there including Kamala Harris, Attorney General for the state of California, Mark Ridley Thomas, the mayor of Compton (an African-American woman who is one of the youngest mayors in the nation) and many other elected officials.  There were four panels consisting of four or five speakers on each.   There were also two survivors of sex trafficking, bold, passionate, beautiful women inside and out.  One is the director of the Los Angeles non-profit agency “Saving Innocence” and the other is the founder and director of MISSEY in the Bay area.  These were the speakers who really captured my attention, and I wish the event could have been interactive, because I had questions I would love to have asked them.

I realize that it is imperative that we enact policies that will protect the women and children who are considered little more than commodities, but putting a human face on this issue is what pierces the heart.  The two survivors, Kim and Nola, were such articulate well-educated and driven women who work tirelessly to put the broken pieces of lives back together.  They say when a broken bone heals, it is stronger than ever, and I can only hope with my whole heart that this is the case for these devalued women and children.

I learned a lot.  Gang members who once dealt drugs are abandoning that line of revenue to recruit women and children.  Once the drug is consumed, new product must be secured, but human bodies can be used over and over for many years until they are no longer profitable, but that takes a long time, especially if you begin with a 12-year-old.  Sometimes the perpetrator then attempts to gain a ransom from the families of the victims in an effort to drain every last drop of profit from them.  I will now be more aware of situations that don’t quite add up such as a vacant home with a lot of traffic coming and going where victims may be forced to service “clients.”  We were also taught that the customers who solicit sex with minors are not to be called “Johns.”  They are to be known as pedophiles because that’s exactly what they are.  May of these boys and men come from the same type of homes as the girls they victimize…children who are not told they are valuable, precious and worth protecting.  In some instances, the parents themselves are the very ones who are trafficking them for their own gain.  It boggles the mind, but it’s true.  

A march against sex trafficking is scheduled for today on Western Ave.  It was supposed to rain today, but instead it is a bright, sunshiney day, the perfect day to gather together and march.  I like to think that the God who weeps at human injustice had a little something to do with the change of weather.

I am thankful God has lead me to keep this issue close to my heart.  I have already sent an email to Kim from Saving Innocence, and I will be keeping my eyes peeled for ways to help in this fight to save those who have no voice.  Lord, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the divine opportunities that will continue to come my way. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

THE MEANING OF DREAMS

I have recently told God that I am open to having spiritual dreams.  I think the scripture says that your old men (women too, I’m sure) will dream dreams and your young men will have visions.  If that’s the case, I am unlikely to have visions, but one can always hope.  For a while I was diligent about keeping a pad and pen on my night stand, always at the ready to record significant dreams even if I woke up in the middle of the night, but I never actually did it.  I have had a few dreams where the meaning seemed clear, but, for the most part, I have no idea what my dreams are trying to communicate to me. Often, as I awake, I only have a vague recollection of what I dreamed, or if I do remember, I always think it will stay with me, and I can wait till later to go over it in my head or write it down.  I don’t know why I think my brain will retain the dreams in all their splendor.  Usually I can only recall bits and pieces and even though I try hard to recapture the main parts, it all seems to fade away like an elusive mist.

Last night I dreamed I was walking outdoors in the early evening.  There seemed to be a threat of rain in the air, and I wondered if I should turn back, because I hadn’t brought an umbrella, but, for some reason, I wasn’t that concerned and decided to proceed down the street.  It was a narrow street, which seemed to be lined with trees on both sides.  I remember the scene seemed exceptionally beautiful with the darkening sky and a few blooms still clinging to the trees branches.  Sure enough a light rain began to fall as the night grew darker.  I wasn’t dressed for damp weather, but since it wasn’t a hard rain fall, I still was not concerned, and, for some reason, I wasn’t cold.  I don’t even recall getting wet.  I was just captivated by the beauty of the evening and filled with contentment as I continued to walk along.  I have no idea what my destination was supposed to be.  

After walking for awhile, other people began to appear as the street widened.  They were all going towards a charming house that was slightly elevated from the street.  There was a small lemon tree in front of the house with the largest, ripest fruit I had ever seen.  Some of the lemons had fallen to the ground.  There seemed to be a couple in the home, but they did not come out.  Everyone was reaching for the lemons.  There seemed to be enough to go around.  I took a few from the ground and also picked a few from the tree.  I noticed there weren’t that many left on the tree, and I thought it would be rude to pick more and not leave what was left for the inhabitants of the house.  I got the feeling these were not ordinary lemons.  They were perfect specimans of what a lemon should look like…bright yellow, large, perfect shape and not a mark on them.  A woman that was picking them had a plastic bag with her, and I asked if she had an extra one.  Apparently she came prepared, but I had no idea I would encounter this tree on my walk.  She had a pleasant demeanor, but at first she said no to me, so I attempted to hold the lemons in my hands without dropping them, and I turned to leave.  A few seconds later, she said she had found another bag, and I put the lemons in the bag, which made them far easier to carry.

When I turned to leave the house seemed to be higher off the ground than I had noticed when I entered the front yard, and I wondered how I had gotten up there, since coming down seemed to be challenging.  I looked for another way down…perhaps stairs or a ladder? Most of us were preparing to leave the property at that point, and someone told me that the couple in the house was newly engaged.  I believe the month was October.  I was glad for them, but I remember feeling envious and wondering if that would ever happen for me, and then the dream ended.