Often when we talk about human trafficking and slavery we say a lot about services, safety, hope, future, trauma, training, and a bunch of other stuff.
Rarely when we talk about human trafficking and slavery do we use words like fun, community, cows, slurpees, and chicken.
Today was different. As in make me feel a joy I can’t quite describe different.
My phone dinged. I got a text message. I had just left a meeting with a local pastor who works with the refugee community. We talked about the prevalence of young girls being forced by men to sell sex in order to pay off a debt. They have no way of getting out. If they try then they face certain suffering. Details we don’t need to bring up here.
After the meeting I felt a little heavy. Not because it’s new information. No, it’s the same old information, the same patterns of exploitation happening to innocent vulnerable people. It’s so easy to get frustrated and disconcerted with the reality of human trafficking that you don’t see much to celebrate in the world around you.
I swiped open my home screen, punched in my password, and opened the text from one of the staff at Gray Haven.
It was a picture. There they were, two of our staff and five survivors of slavery, standing in front of Chik-fil-a uniformly dressed in black and white clothes holding cow masks over their faces. They had just eaten their free hard earned meal for cow appreciation day. Oh, and they picked up latex gloves, inflated them, and used them as cow utters.
Free Chik-fil-a was not enough though. It just so happens to be 7/11, a day to get free Slurpees at, you guessed it, 7-11. They did that, too.
These moments remind us we are here to share community with those we serve. To use our time and resources to restore the dignity that was torn from them.
I know there is much work to be done, but today was significant because five survivors of slavery were able to freely enjoy Slurpees and Chik-fil-a.