There are over 20 million people trafficked globally and this crime not including the porn industry profits an estimated $150 billion dollars a year.
Let me begin by sharing a true story of an average American family. We were raising a family. Buying a house. Working. My husband is a union crane operator working here in Houston. We were driving along the hwy in November 2014 when we came across a museum where I learned about the history and current problems of human trafficking and how relevant this is to today’s society.
That day changed the way I saw the world paround me. It was just the beginning for me. I went home realizing I wasn’t hearing enough about human trafficking.
Human trafficking is old bondage of people selling people for a profit, predators preying on vulnerabilities of the weak.
I began to study and According to the National center for missing and exploited children an estimated 2 million American kids runaway from home every year. Within 48 to 72 hours on the streets, one third fall into the hands of pornagraphy and prostitution.
I published a fiction novel In April of last year titled Pushing Back the Darkness and have sold hundreds of copies. I’m working with a team of eight writers and we are in the second phase of editing a curriculum now titled Called Out: A 16 session emotional healing and restoration curriculum for survivors of sexual abuse. Our goal is to have this published In July of this year.
I have been invited to teach and bring awareness to over thirty different settings and speaking engagements at churches, schools and libraries , but I want to scale these workshops and replicate them across America. Research your city and community. Human trafficking affects all of us.
My goal is to launch this program engaged in the fight to end modern-day slavery & help with aftercare of survivors. Through education and awareness we can bring Hope to those who have none. We can change the very communities we live in by making meaningful impact in a place of need. We have identified the problem and now we offer a solution. Thank you.
Those were my notes from the IMPACTJUNKIE meeting at the Worklodge which was an incredible place!!
The original Temple of #Solomon was built with cedars from #Lebanon. When the foundation of the new temple was laid, the description of simultaneous joy and weeping is noted in #Ezra chapter 3 :10-13. The older community remembered the former temple and the new generation was celebrating.
You will not find recorded here the grumbling, murmurs or complaints of the older crowd. One reads the sound was heard a far off and people couldn’t discern the noise of joy from the noise of grief and weeping. They did it together. Unity. The old hand in hand with the new.
There was no thought of “if it’s not done my way then we cannot work together”
The glorious praise was shouted when the expectation of the temple #foundation was laid and the first steps completed. They had a long journey a head of them but the work could not be done alone. The people had to work together in unity.
There was mourning for the loss and rememberance of the #destruction of the original temple but the glory of the New Temple would surpass that of the first.
How does that apply to Impactjunkie.co?????
What does that have to do with Tribes!?
Well, I believe that We must all work together and not have a “my way” mindset.
Or a hindsight viewpoint of constantly remembering the old ways and not putting our hand to the plow and helping with what’s going on today and now.
Today and #Tomorrow is a better day. We are headed to a bright future of the church if we work together to bring in the harvest and labor for souls #together.
Help your brother with his dream. Help your sister with her vision. Work together for the kingdom of God.
Impactjunkie.co may be a New thing but it is out there helping others and using the tools we have in our hands. Using our time
Talent and treasures today….get involved!
To me, age is a state of mind. Depending on the day, I can feel myself anywhere between 18 and 90.
What are you passionate about?
I’m an artist at heart. I enjoy writing, painting and photography. My other passions are Latin dance and shooting weapons at the range. I love to work out and create things as well. I love to design new stuff from scratch or transform ugly things into beautiful ones. I love fashion and my dream is to create a fashion clothing line one day. I’m also passionate about real estate – I’m a licensed agent in Ohio.
What human trafficking looks like and how does it affect American youth?
Human trafficking is illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Behind those words there are many broken human lives. Each story is an incredible tragedy of a person who is torn away from his normal life and deprived of his freedom and human rights.
Young people are particularly vulnerable, as criminals can find victims and manipulate them through internet, social media and private chats. One report cited “13 years old as the most common age in Ohio for youth to become victims of child sex trafficking”.
What motivated you to write a book and more importantly what inspired you to get involved with bringing awareness to human trafficking?
The book Girl, Taken – is a true story about kidnapping and survival. The plot of my book took place in real life and I just described it in my own words.
I saw and experienced things no one should have to go through. I’m sure that right now, right at this particular moment, there is someone who is suffering from being a victim of kidnapping or trafficking or facing a similar ordeal in life. I wanted to deliver a message to those who seek hope or to those who are about to give up. Hope and faith should never leave you, even in the moment of total and all-consuming despair.
Every human trafficking story looks similar to mine. The incredible tragedy that involves not only one person – it’s an adversity for all family members. Unfortunately, most people consider human trafficking as a problem of the past or believe that it is limited to being outside the United States only. Only by bringing awareness and education about this problem taking place everywhere there will be a chance to fight this crime.
Tell us a few statistics concerning human trafficking in your city and the surrounding areas.
Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery that occurs in every state, including Ohio. Ohio ranks number five in the nation for the most human trafficking cases. Last year, 375 Ohio trafficking cases were reported based on calls to the national hotline–according to Polaris, a nonprofit organization that tracks human trafficking cases in America and across the world.
If any readers might think a loved one is in harm’s way what would be a few actions you would suggest so they can get the help they need?
The professional help from the therapist and a good family environment are the best sources, in my opinion.
What steps did you take to begin bringing awareness and getting involved?
I’m at the very beginning of my journey at the moment. I think social media is the best way to bring the awareness.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
Through the horrifying months of my captivity – witnessing atrocities, surviving bombings and sexual violence, and trapped in a land where countless people were dying every day, I fought desperately to stay alive, stay sane and not lose the one thing that kept me going – my hope.
We never know what we are capable of until we are placed in a situation when you have to make a choice – stay strong or break down. Choose to remain a victim or choose to become a survivor.
At some point, I decided for myself – I wanted to be a survivor and not a victim. I like to believe we can all make this choice, no matter the hardships we face in life.
What advice would you give to parents of youth?
Pay attention and talk to your children. Be proud of what they are accomplishing. Love them.
So many people have dreams and want to start nonprofits or businesses because they have a burning desire to change the world. They want to be men or women of influence with a powerful message. Then doubt sets in or failure happens.
-What are your thoughts about this?
Robert Kiyosaki – famous American businessman and author – once said: “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success”.
Pursuing things that truly matter gives people a sense of purpose and this, in turn, will help people persevere in their pursuits.
-What would your message to these people include?
Take a risk to make a difference. If you win, you will be happy. If you lose, you learn.
What is your favorite quote or mantra?
This too shall pass.
My favorite of all times, meaning that nothing is permanent.
When everything is good, remember that it won’t last forever. So, enjoy and cherish it while you can. When things are bad, remember that it won’t last forever. Have faith, bad times eventually will pass.
What motivates you?
Achieving the desired results motivates me.
When was the last time you were out of your comfort zone?
A few days ago, I was honored to give a public speech about my book Girl, Taken. That was something I have never done before and had zero experience with. I was way out of my comfort zone.
What are your most important gifts you have to offer your city and state?
Every voice has an influence. Many voices have the power to change the world or to stop a crime. To be involved in the organization or a group with like-minded people – is a gift that every citizen should offer to their community to improve the quality of life.
If anyone is interested in contacting you further what would be the easiest way to reach you?
The best way to reach me is through one of my social media accounts:
Is there anything else you want me to know that will help me write this article?
As I mentioned earlier, I wrote a book Girl, Taken – A True Story of Abduction, Captivity and Survival. In 1994, just after my 21st birthday, I was drugged and abducted from my hometown in southern Russia by a group of gangsters. The idea was to hold me for ransom, but an unfortunate thing happened. Soon after my kidnapping, the first Russian-Chechen War broke out…
I would love to share my story with the readers of your blog.
Readers love Girl, Taken.
Here’s a small sample of what they are saying:
“This book will astonish and inspire you. It is the harrowing tale of a young woman who saved her own life through nothing more than courage, determination, and inner strength.”
“One of the best books I’ve read in the past few years…”
“Girl, Taken kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. She is lucky to be alive. Very intense, hard to put it down. I would definitely suggest you enjoy the book for yourself and feel what it’s like to be kidnapped…”
Girl, Taken – A True Story of Abduction, Captivity and Survival. You can check it out on Amazon
I smile as I think of the wonderful weekend with the Impact Junkie team in Washington DC area this past weekend. What an incredible team of people who use their abilities, talents and skills to help domestically and internationally. Impact Junkie
On this trip I stumbled across a project I need help with this year. The White is an old gorgeous home that has the best kind of creaky floors. It is located behind The Dream Center created by Mark Batterson’s Dream Team to give people a place to hang out, learn, grow, get their families involved in productive after school activities like ballet, martial arts and even basketball. Walking through the White house with my Impact Junkie team, we began checking off the list of things we would want to get done like:
I was excited to be there but my heart kept tugging me to explore the old house more…until I found the sun-room.
The sun-room was a warm haven. Quiet with huge glass windows that overlooked the beautiful DC residential area. As cold and windy as it was outside, I was warm and toasty and my heart felt peace in that sun-room. I decided to make this my project for the day. I cleaned, dusted, mopped and made it shine the best it could but it lacks art supplies and paint on the walls as well as it misses two window panes…the holes covered by wooden planks.
If you want a legitimate place to invest in. A place that really needs a small touch of love for it to really bloom and thrive I offer to you the other White House on South Pennsylvania Ave in Washington DC.
As I swept the floors I picked up old hand drawn art projects from children I will never meet. I thought about those kids and smiled. I prayed God would paint beautiful memories in their minds and cover any nightmares of memories they might have.
I dusted baseboards and asked God to dust away any debris in the kids’ lives that might be covering talents they could use to grow and have productive lives in the future.
I cleaned away old glitter from long past projects and prayed God would fill their lives with sparkle.
This was a peaceful place for children to come and be safe and artistically grow. As we washed the windows we noticed repairs needed. Two window panes are missing covered by wooden boards.
There are no art supplies left. Only broken chalk.
The three tables are sturdy but mismatched and their vinyl chairs are torn and the stuffing is coming out.
The one wall is beige and scratched from constantly been touched by little hands.
My friend Zuri came to check on me and I showed her the things I wouldn’t be able to fix today but it would be easy to make this room incredible.
Our idea? Let’s adopt this sun-room!
We would need a group of people with a vision to donate and contribute a very small amount of money to go to buying good art supplies monthly.
An idea was born and I have to see it through.
I may not be able to go overseas and do missions but I can offer these simple solutions and help kids here. If you’re interested in helping at all reach out to me and I promise 100% will go to those renovations. I can’t wait to show you the updates…the improvements on the adopted IMPACTJUNKIE sunroom. I have shared pictures with you here to show you what the room looks like right now. Color and new supplies would be all this room needed. Feel free to contact me: LauraAranda@owlofhope.com