“I didn’t want to go, but I knew I couldn’t refuse them. There was no future here. Only pain. And hunger. My friend’s older sister had a job for me in the city. So, I decided to go. It couldn’t be worse than this. Or so I thought.

I woke up in a dark, damp, locked room. I vaguely remember the long days of travel and receiving different clothes. And being forced to drink. Then, the men started coming. I lost count of the days and the men. I was terrified that this would be my future.” – Jasmine*

In places where women are not valued, where girls are unwanted and unloved, where poverty clouds every part of life, where She Is Safe works, we learn of girls with journeys just like Jasmine’s.

This paints a very dark picture of how thousands of girls are lured into sex trafficking each year. They enter a life of the unimaginable. But what if she had been aware of the dangers and had alternatives? What if her mother was able to keep her safe and provide for her education and nutrition?

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. It’s important to raise awareness to prevent women and girls from being vulnerable to human trafficking predators. As you look into the reality of modern slavery, you can sense what it is like to be alone, defenseless and sold into a life of disease, danger and death, like Jasmine. But if we can prevent this from even happening to begin with, many lives can be spared.

In the places where She Is Safe works, women and girls receive prevention tools through education programs, abuse prevention training, Transformation Groups, and business training programs. Through these avenues, each one learns the truth of her value and she shares her newfound worth and dignity with her daughters, women in her family and in her village.

Imagine… what if before Jasmine woke up in a dark, foul-smelling hotel room, we diverted her path from the trap of trafficking? Then she wouldn’t become a statistic, an unknown number, an unknown face. She would become strong, free and empowered to understand her worth. She can look toward a strong and safe future.

That’s what prevention does. She is vulnerable no more.