It was unexpected, the revelation that she'd been manipulated into prostitution, this young woman among the attendees at the human trafficking seminar.
The presenter kept his composure, drawing on his decades of experience in law enforcement. Only those in the front row or two saw his eyes glisten with held back tears.
The myths of human trafficking help us sleep at night, help us believe this is happening somewhere else to people who don't look anything like us, that our daughters - our sons - are safe.
Traffickers do not discriminate. Using force, fraud or coercion, traffickers induce and recruit from all facets of humanity: wealthy, middle class, impoverished; immigrants and citizens; children and adults. Traffickers come to steal, kill and destroy.
In 1981, the General Accounting Office estimated there were 600,000 American children, under the age of 16, working as prostitutes in the United States. (childrenofthenight.org)
Are you surprised?
Help dispel the myths. Learn about human trafficking.
Traffickers are counting on us not to care.
Some resources to get you started:
Celia Williams, PhD