Today we welcome author and anti-trafficking warrior, Kimberly Rae, as our guest poster. Please feel free to leave comments or questions, and visit us on social media.
When Kimberly Rae first started training people how to fight trafficking, her passion was rescue. She wanted to release the chains of the 20-30 million slaves in the world and abolish this terrible evil. But the truth revealed itself: rescue is not enough. More victims will take their place. To stop exploitation, we have to either stop demand, or protect potential victims.
She dug deeper and discovered that exploitation is rarely a random abduction in a mall. Rather, it often takes places with careful emotional grooming, so effective that by the time the victim is trafficked, no physical chains are needed.
The average age of entry for a teen girl in the US to be trafficked is 12-14. For boys, that number goes down to 11-13. Knowing this, she started talking about helping teens and tweens avoid predators on the internet or predator liaisons in school.
Over the years, her research brought her to a core reason certain children, teens and even adults are vulnerable to trafficking.
Childhood sexual abuse.
“The overlap of childhood sexual abuse and human trafficking is astonishing,” Kimberly says. “This huge overlap extends to any type of exploitation, including abusive relationships as an adult. Why? I believe this is because 90% of childhood sexual abuse occurs with someone the child knows, and 60% with someone the family trusts. A relationship that should have been loving was abusive, and, without help, the developing child spends the rest of their lives not knowing the boundary between a loving relationship and an abusive one.”
Kimberly adds, “Children who experience abuse are incredibly vulnerable. They exhibit characteristics that a predator can recognize, and thus further exploit. The thought makes me sick. I want it stopped. I can’t put my arms around every child and protect them from predators. None of us can. But each of us can do something.”
Rae’s something is writing, creating resources to put into the hands of the vulnerable, the victims, and those who love them and want to help them. It started with I Am Safe, a coloring book with both a child and parent/advocate version to help children know the boundaries of appropriate behavior and what to do if someone crossed those boundaries. “It took over a year,” she says, “because I didn’t know how I was going to make it positive and non-threatening, but finally I have something to help adults protect the children they love.”
After I Am Safe was released, a children’s advocacy center asked if she also had anything for teen girls who were victims. That was the catalyst for Overcomer, a Christian journal that helps victims face the pain of the past, then overcome in mind and action so they can move forward into the future without lifelong vulnerability.
“People care and want to make a difference,” says Rae. “I love providing resources to help them do that.”
Previews of Rae’s books, including several novels on fighting trafficking, are available at www.kimberlyrae.com.
Author of 35 books, Kimberly Rae has been published over 200 times and has work in 5 languages. She lived in Bangladesh, Uganda, Kosovo and Indonesia before health problems brought her permanently back to the US. Now a brain surgery survivor, Rae currently lives in Madison, GA, with her husband and two children.