Katie had become involved with a dangerous group of gang members. At 14, she was engaging in risky behavior and dancing at an adult nightclub. She would leave home without telling her mother her whereabouts. Katie was very hostile towards her mom's inquiries into her behavior and activities outside the home.
Katie had injuries to her face which she would never explain, stating she could not remember how she got them. Katie had no dad in her life and mom was working late into the night, doing all she could to support her family -- a typical scenario for a child to become a potential victim of exploitation. Katie is also a very attractive girl and extremely naïve, which is often another common component. Katie’s Facebook page showed she had a very provocative lifestyle and at some point acquired the nickname “Little K,” another commonality.
Our partner team set out with a goal of rescuing this child from exploitation and sexual slavery. Through coordination with an officer of the court and her mother, they were able to rescue Katie and remove her from the area where she was living. Following the rescue, our partner team along with Karla and several other volunteers personally drove Katie to our safe house 23 hours away. During the journey, Karla engaged Katie in positive conversation, giving her reassuring thoughts about her placement into our program. Karla gained Katie’s trust and learned that Katie has a friend who is currently missing. It is likely this child’s disappearance is also directly linked to the adult nightclub with which Katie was involved.
Katie had a difficult first day in the program. She was angry, confused and not happy. We could see this was a child who had missed out on most of her childhood. However, every so often we could see the child in her when she would talk about a movie or book she liked, which were very childlike in nature. This behavior gives us hope that deep down all Katie wants is a child's life. During a visit to the campus two weeks ago Elaine and I met Katie. She seemed calmed down and seems to be settling in.
Thanks to you, Katie has hope for a different future! Yesterday she was singing her heart out on a karaoke machine, and today is another day in her recovery of the stolen childhood she so deserves.