I grew up in poverty, living in the Bottoms on the Westside of Columbus. Both my mother and step-dad were alcoholics and addicts. The smell of marijuana and empty beer bottles on the table was the norm in my home. I can’t remember ever having a real schedule in my home; it was very dysfunctional and unpredictable. Education was one of the many fatalities of this war of life I lived. I got into drugs at an early age, and my mother signed papers for me to drop out of school. I guess you could say my upbringing was training for the life of human trafficking that would eventually choose me for its dirty deeds. I was a young girl with no true direction in my life, with no positive role models to help me find my way. Looking back, I see what my human traffickers must have seen when they coerced me into that life – easy prey.
At Freedom a la Cart we are inspired every day by our employees. It’s a privilege to be a part of their journeys of healing, independence and self-sufficiency. Stephanie, a CATCH Court graduate and Freedom employee, has graciously volunteered to share a little bit about her experiences as a survivor of human trafficking and her work with Freedom. Here is her story: