How does a puppy relate to a blog about sex trafficking? There are implications for human trafficking victims, those who would rescue them, and those who serve in after care programs.
My son recently graduated from Air Force Basic Training. His fiancé also, had just graduated. Graduates have no phones, no way to update communications minute by minute.
We were scheduled to pick her up at 9am. We left two minutes latter than planned, no big deal, right? Ordinarily. While traveling at 70mph, I spotted a puppy on the shoulder, running along the highway, his head darting back and forth, obviously terrified.
“Stop! Pull over!” my son insists. Foolishly, I comply. I pull onto a narrow shoulder, at the off ramp, which has a Texas rainwater drop off. This small space is terrifyingly located with lots of cars whipping by. He jumps out and runs about 500 yards full barrel toward the puppy. Just as he starts to slow down to approach, apparently too fast for the pup’s comfort. The puppy darted into oncoming traffic. He is struck immediately. Laid out in the road, he is unconscious. My son gasps and quickly follows into oncoming traffic to pick up the puppy. He gently places him on the shoulder. I am watching the rearview mirror in horror.
He leans over the seemingly lifeless body for a moment as I sit helplessly praying that the brand new rental car, that I declined additional insurance on, isn’t struck. He picked up the limp body and is walking quickly toward me and I see the traffic has lightened a bit. So, I put the car in reverse to expedite his arrival, not realizing that I am inches from dropping the car off the edge, which would surely have incapacitated it. I open the front door, he says, “No, open the back. I want to put him on the floor.”
I open my door as little as possible as cars blow by me. I run around, noticing the danger, I’d miraculously avoided. I open the door and he places the puppy on the floor. We jump in. As he scrambles for a napkin to wipe the blood and body fluids from his shaking hands, I inch into a more advantageous position to advance. The dog is unresponsive, but breathing. He searches the phone for an emergency vet. Not actually able to process the directions he got, he asks me where I am going. I am going to pick up our Airman, his wife.
I’ll pick up the rest of the story next week. For now, I want to compare this experience to those involved in the abolition of human trafficking.
From my car, I could see the potential danger and the fright of the puppy. People learning about human trafficking can be similarly stunned at the obvious danger and clear need of victims and want to jump in to help without thinking through their own actions.
By moving too fast, the startled pup bolted into more immediate danger. Just as the puppy was struck by a car, victims may unwittingly be placed into a more dangerous situation that they were already in. If a victim tells the trafficker of a conversation or even indicated that someone tried to ‘rescue’ them, they could be beaten or relocated or punished in some other way or they might hide for a time. You could put yourself in danger, as well.
Victims seldom know they are victims. Attempting to rescue them must be undertaken with great care and cautious evaluation. Your good intentions could be met with an unexpected turn for the worse.
I am most definitely not advocating for you to leave them alone. I am asking that if you want to get involved, you join some people who are knowledgeable and experienced. Trafficking victims suffer trauma. They will not respond the way you might expect. They have no reason to trust you or anyone else for that matter.
I applaud you for wanting to help. I don’t want to throw cold water on your enthusiasm. Properly placed, we can really make a difference in the lives of victims.
If this is something you care about, leave a comment, contact me, and keep caring.