Jackie and I recently had the opportunity to meet Jasmine Grace Marino at an event in Dedham. She is an amazing young woman, mother, mentor, and survivor of trafficking from here in the Boston area. She spoke so openly about the torments her trafficker inflicted - how he was able to completely control her way of thinking, her self-image, and her life. He even went so far as to give her a new name…..instead of Jasmine, she became Brittney - she even lost control of what people called her.
She painted a vivid picture of how hard it is for victims of trafficking to get out of “the lifestyle” and start a new path. So many times they fall back into the pattern of trafficking and prostitution due to lack of viable options and employment. She ended up being “in the life” for many years until she couldn’t even recognize herself.
She explained that when a victim of trafficking wants to get out of “the life,” they need a safe person to be able to turn to as well as a good job in order to support herself. She was very open about the struggles she faced and continues to face.
I could not help but think of our friends in Uganda and Destiny Women. (The organization that Amilia’s Light is partnering with to help survivors of human trafficking.) Together we have begun the Empowerment Program which gives these young girls an opportunity to work in a safe center that will give them hope and dignity. This one stop center will host a variety of businesses, starting with a hair salon and fashion boutique. The girls have received business training and very soon will start their new jobs.
But they need your help to name their new one stop center.
They want a name that reflects the hope, empowerment, and restoration that the girls now have. A name that reflects the sparkle in their eyes from doing a job that will support them in a way that they can be proud of. Can you help us name the center? We will send our three top choices to the girls and then they can pick their favorite! They have the power to choose a new life, a new hope, and a new name for their workplace!
Please email your suggestions to JodiHolman@AmiliasLight.org today. The girls want to hear from you!
For more on Jasmine’s story and the work she is doing go to: http://jasminegrace.org/