The transit center….I am sure my discomfort was obvious but Kari recently freed from a life trapped in the sex industry, needed for me to see, smell, and touch the places that had shaped her life. The two of us with the crew from Chanel 2, stood in that place just taking it all in.
Every face told a story, I wanted to hear everyone of them. But today was all about Kari’s story. We saw the corridor where she was raped as a young teen. She told of the security guard who saw what was happening to her shrugged off her cries for help. Over the years this would also be the place that would house so many of her worst memories. She slept in a nearby abandoned building and was lured to work in a massage parlor which she found out during her first client, that massage was anything but massage. At age 13, homeless, hungry and tired the $150 dollar payout for her first client meant 2 nights in a hotel, a warm bed and a hot shower. Through terrified sobs of pain she did what was needed to walk away with the money. That very night, the gal who got her the job took half the money and the other half was stolen in the night. Kari, with a hardened heart and stone face, went back the next day for another shot at that kind of cash. Her life changed that day. She had to survive and survival meant she mopped up the sick perverted sexual needs of her johns.
The money would soon belong to others who were smart enough to convince her she needed them. She was easy prey for a money hungry pimp. All it took was four little words, “You are so pretty.” Those words spoken to an abandon teen were like water to her soul. “Someone thinks I am pretty, I am desired!” To hear those words, which would hopefully lead her to hear the words, “I love you,” drove her to agree to sell her self giving all the money away, run drugs, open up credit in her name and do anything the pimp wanted.
The lies didn’t stop at the words, “I love you.” She was taught to believe that if she did not provide these services that these sick men would harm innocent children by force. In a good will partnership with her pimp, she was protecting children from harm. So, prostitution was a necessary evil to help keep children from harm from these hateful men. That is how she could sleep at night.
Kari’s story is horrific and yet typical. I met Kari though another Priceless woman who longed for freedom for her friend in the same way she had found it. Kari has a new future and a new job that starts this week. She just graduated from drug treatment and is clean. She is full of life and hope in Jesus Christ. Her passion is to see other gals freed in the same way. We are currently looking for a new place for her to live. Pray for her as she continues to press into new life.
The stats are horrible in our state but stats can change. Through the ministry of Priceless we have the profound privilege of seeing stats change one single life at a time.