Volunteer Experience with Jazmine Goodman

Recently we sat down with our Director Of Case Management Jazmine Goodman. We asked her some questions about her experience working with victims of Human Trafficking. It got real. 

1. How has working with HT victims changed the way you feel about people?

"I don’t think serving this type of population could not have a direct effect on the way that I view humanity.  I think that so many people are quick to judge those around them and I would say one of the many things that I have taken away from this job is that often victims of human trafficking are people that we come across in our daily activities.  That thought is sobering, and it brings a deeper sense of empathy towards the strangers that I may come across in a place as simple as the grocery store, the mall, or at a restaurant.  No longer can I look at a person and have apathy towards them.  Rather, I look at them and can truly say that I have gained a different understanding that they very well could be a victim of human trafficking, homelessness, or may have a past in one of those two areas."

2.    How have you been impacted by working with victims of HT?

"That is a hard question.  I think that it is difficult to see your own transformation as a person when you are still so engulfed in the daily chaos that often comes with this job.  I would say that I have been softened because of the increased empathy as mentioned in the previous question.  I have been hardened because I have to realize that with this job comes a level of danger and to be anything other than cautious and “hard” can be unwise at times.  I have become bolder because the passion that burns inside of me to serve this population increases with every new client that we receive.  With every new story I hear, my passion is reignited, and I become bolder and more and more unafraid to face the darkness that lies within the streets of Albuquerque; and bolder to speak up and raise awareness that this is a very real thing and this very real thing lurks in our own backyards.  I have learned a unique balance that is to be hard, but soft and bold, but meek." 

3. Why do you work with this population?

"Simple.  It is a calling.  I believe that God works all things for His glory.  I believe that from the beginning of my life, I have been intentionally prepared for this very season in my life and I believe that every single character trait that I possess has been formed to serve these women."

4. Can you share some stories about working with clients? Good or bad!

"I have so many! I have had clients tell me off and run away from our program.  I have had clients who have chosen to go back to “the Life” and those are some of the greatest heartbreaks of this job.  But we have also served clients who work hard to improve their lives and seek counseling and thrive and those are the moments of this job that make it worth it; to see someone transform from a place of hopelessness to a place of promise and hope, it is easily one of the most beautiful parts of my job and I am honored to have experienced those moments."

"I Own Her."

image1.png

“I own her”

By: Brittany Langlois

 

It started out innocent, so she thought. She met him at a gas station and asked if he could buy her cigarettes since she was underage. He was handsome and charming and knew just the right things to say. He bought her cigarettes for the exchange of her number and that’s how it all started.

He took his time as he swayed her to let her guard down. He saw her vulnerabilities and knew she was the perfect one for the job. He could tell she was already broken down to an extent and had probably experienced some kind of abuse by the way she carried herself. He smooth talked his way into her head by telling her all the things he could give her. To her he showed what she thought was genuine interest but was really the mastered skills of manipulation at work. He spoke sweet whispers of lies into her ear as they made their way into her heart. She thought he was her knight in shining armor. With her dad absent in her life she was desperate for the love of a man.  

See this wasn’t his first victim. He had much experience under his belt. He knew the key to successfully own her was to get her as isolated as he could. She still lived at home but was looking for a way out. She would sneak out at night just escape her reality and live in the fairytale he was getting her to believe. He got her to open up about her life at home, her family and their issues. He listened intently and took mental notes knowing this is the information he needed to trap her. Little by little he got her to rebel against her family and eventually run away with him with promises of a happily ever after together.

He introduced her to heroin and the party life. He would convince her to sleep with his “friends” and would say “do it if you love me.” Before long she was trapped. He would take her out and parade her around to any guy who was willing to pay. He knew where her family lived since he used to pick her up while she snuck out late at night and would us it to his advantage to keep her quiet. He would make threats to kill her or her family if she wouldn’t do what he said. He had the power to make her do anything. He owned her.

Traffickers take their time at grooming their victims. The grooming process is a combination of psychological manipulation, physical abuse, intimidation, with holding necessities such as food or clothing, threats, and isolation from family/friends. The goal of grooming is to break down a victim’s resistance and ensure compliance. They can play the role of a loving boyfriend or a daddy figure. They gain the trust of their victim and get them to open up. They really get to know them and use it against them later. It’s a twisted trap that keeps them on a leash and in slavery.

Finding Beauty in Serving the Slave

Photo 6.jpg

Finding beauty in serving the slave

By: Brittany Langlois

 

She was walking down Central, clothes tattered and worn, makeup caked on covering what lay beneath. The rough exterior was more than skin deep for the life she had lived broke her down into pieces. The things she was forced to do would haunt her. The addictions she picked up along the way were just a means of coping. From the outside she looked rough but on the inside, she was looking for a way out. Someone who could see past the rough exterior. Someone who would hear her silent cry. Someone who would listen to her story without judgement.

The personal encounters we hear from the victims that were rescued tell of a life of slavery. They are no longer human but only an object for sale. They no longer have the right to say, “no”, because someone paid for the right to do as they please with them. They have a trafficker that dictates every move they make. Personal freedom has been taken. They live in a constant mode of survival. It’s a life they did not choose for themselves but serves as a means to survive.

Every trafficking victim has a story just like anyone else. There is no story too dirty, no past too messy, no person too far gone that God can’t redeem. He has a specific plan and purpose for each one of us. I love the verse 2 Corinthians 5:17 that says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away; behold the new has come.” This is our reality in our work with sex trafficking survivors, and I love seeing it happen right before my eyes. Untangling the mess of past hurts and experience is no simple task but it is one that is worth it. Sometimes it is an ugly  process as we teach them how to actually live instead of just survive. It takes months of building relationship and trust with them. It’s showing them unconditional love regardless of where they are at in the process. It’s standing alongside them and empowering them to succeed. The damage that has been done takes time to heal but it is time well spent. Studies have shown that people are most satisfied with life when they feel they have a purpose and are helping others. Serving victims of human trafficking is an honor. It gives the opportunity to truly see how big our God is!

There is nothing more rewarding and satisfying than being a part of someone’s story of freedom and recovery. Maybe you are reading this and have that desire to invest your time into something that matters. You want to roll up your sleeves and get your hand dirty by diving into such a selfless ministry. There is always room for more people to come and serve these amazing people. Jesus said this in Luke 10:2, “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” We have been praying and believing for those who have the same heart for human trafficking victims to come and enter in the harvest field with us to make an eternal difference. There are many areas you can serve on our team. We will equip you with the tools and skills to serve this population.

Can Good Men Buy Sex?

Can good men buy sex?

By: Brittany Langois

 

It was a question that ran through my mind morning and night. Who are the faces behind this multi-billion dollar industry? Surely, it must be twisted men who would buy a person for sex. Someone who lacks a heart to use and abuse a human being like a disposable razor. To look at the dark truth of who is supporting this industry is mind boggling, or is it?

In a culture that over sexualizes everything, it’s not surprising that human trafficking is a major problem. The reality of it is that the men who support this industry are just normal “good” guys all from various backgrounds. It’s not a matter of good or bad but rather how deep they are trapped by lust. How does it all start? How do they get to the point of buying sex? Maybe it started out as a kid who was exposed to pornography which later turned into an addiction. After some time, the pornography is not enough so he goes a little further by going to strip clubs and peep shows. Still unsatisfied, he takes it a step further and is buying sex to satisfy this unquenchable desire. See that’s the problem with lust, it is never satisfied. Lust will always look to exploits others. It only thinks of itself and conditions us to use, manipulate and exploit others for our own self-centered gratification. Lust numbs the heart by dehumanizing people, so we no longer see them as a person but rather just an object. Lust consumes. It looks for disposable people. Along with lust always comes shame. Shame is what tells us to hide the dark we are dabbling in, never to be seen. Shame tells us to put on that mask of perfect and put together. All this is happening in the dark corners of his heart and mind, stored as locked up secrets that hold him bound.

The porn industry plays a vital role in the trafficking industry. Porn is the leash that keeps men trapped and wanting more. Our minds are extremely complex. What we see with our eyes, our brain takes snapshots of and stores the images along with the feelings we felt in the moment. Have you ever wondered why you are so affected emotionally by a movie you watched? You sit in the theater watching the movie but to your mind it is reality and you feel like you are in the movie. You feel what the actors feel. It’s no different with porn. Our mind tricks us and makes us feel like we are there. Many times, men will buy sex to try out what they have been exposed to in porn.

It’s not just the sick and twisted individual that we conjure up in our minds but rather those just like us that were tempted by lust and then trapped by it. It can be anyone. Our coworkers, our friends, our family. We think that the only one hurt in the process is the one being trafficked but it goes both ways. The man buying sex is so bound by lust and ashamed for what he is involved in that he keeps it a secret. He will do whatever it takes to keep it a secret. He is a slave to lust and needs the freedom as much as those being trafficked if not more.