Friends, we’re talking about a tough topic today, but one that is so important and becoming increasingly relevant. Sex trafficking–in particular the trafficking of children–is not an issue any of us can choose to ignore or downplay any longer. It is rampant, it is evil, and children we know and love are at risk.
This month is national Human Trafficking Awareness month, which makes it the ideal time to spend some time discussing the issue. Today I am privileged to introduce to you Katariina Rosenblatt, author (with Cecil Murphey) of Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor.
Kat, welcome. Stolen is a great title for your book. When I first picked it up, I assumed it would refer to your being snatched or stolen away from your family and sold into prostitution. Instead, your story reveals that you became a prostituted teen right under your parents’ noses. To me, Stolen refers to your stolen childhood, stolen security, stolen self-image and self-worth. How else is your title appropriate for this book?
Stolen refers to my stolen innocence and identity. I became what others wanted and in the process lost a part of myself. American society is experiencing a scourge of stolen innocence as we give up so much for so little in return. We need to teach our sons and daughters to protect the value of their sexuality and to be aware of predators.
One of the more remarkable aspects of your story is the way God rescued you—many times—from your dangerous lifestyle. What does this tell you about who God is?
This tells me God is greater and more powerful than any enemy could ever be. Greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world. Understanding this truth in my life has empowered me to go into the deepest darkest places within myself and allow God to bring healing. In turn, this has led to me helping to rescue others caught in a life of sex trafficking.
The other remarkable thing—which you comment on yourself—is how many times you fell prey to human trafficking due to your extreme vulnerability as a child. Based on your experience, what do you want parents and teachers and school counselors to realize?
Parents and teachers must realize that things are not always as they seem. Our tendency is to trust and this can easily lead to our being naive. Trafficking is a crime that occurs beneath the surface and often right under our noses. We have got to be wise. We must ask the right questions of our children. This has nothing to do with trusting them and everything to do with recognizing the dangers they face.
This wasn’t an easy book to read, and I can’t imagine it was an easy one to write. For those who might feel squeamish about reading your story, how would you encourage them to do it anyway?
This is a difficult topic. I don’t expect everyone to have a feel-good experience. Certainly it will educate and inform. There is plenty of story, some bad and some redemptive. For women caught in sex trafficking the end is rarely good. Some of the tips for law enforcement have already led to rescues. Parents, teachers, ministers, counselors – I just want them to be aware and understand the kind of pain this exploitation leads to. There is something all of us can do to end trafficking but it starts with knowing what trafficking is. It starts with reading this book and learning how to identify the signs.
[Tweet “Be informed! First step to ending sex trafficking. Q&A w/ @KatRosenblatt, survivor”]
What is the biggest thing you hope your readers take away from your book?
I hope they grasp how deep and how wide is the love of Christ. If there is hope for me then there is hope for anyone. This life story is proof of God’s existence and desire to redeem any situation.
Thank you so much, Kat, for sharing your life and your heart. It’s been an honor to have you here today.
After words: Friends, want to be better informed? Read Stolen. Listen to these two 30-minute Focus on the Family podcasts, Human Trafficking: What You Need to Know. If you live in Washington state, check out Washington Engage and sign the Not In My City declaration against human trafficking. If you live in the Seattle area, you can attend the educational forum March 9, 6:30p.m. at the Kent Senior Activity Center to learn how cultural grooming creates vulnerabilities for trafficking. (I plan to be there, so be sure to say hi.) I also encourage you to connect with Katariina online via Facebook to stay up to date.
Finally, I’d like to hear from you. Did you know this is happening today in our schools, to our children?
And stay tuned. Next week, we’ll hear from Alisa Jordheim, author of Made in the USA–The Sex Trafficking of American’s Children.