Victoria’s Story – Name changed for privacy
“I had a warrant for my arrest from breaking into a place when I was 11. By the time I was 13, my rebellion progressed. I wanted structure. I wanted something nice. I wanted things to look forward to and I wanted someone to love me. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be in a family who can care for me and who can provide for me and show me that they’ll be there and that they were reliable. But I couldn’t find it.
I’ve always had issues: with a truancy officer, doing everything I wanted to do, taking off when I felt like it, smoking pot.
I didn’t understand that the choices that I made as a teenager affected me when I became an adult.
My father passed away when I was three years old so ever since that point in time, my life was kind of a spiral. We moved around in various places because my mother was in an abusive relationship. My mom was also a heroin addict and I didn’t know what heroin was at the time. We didn’t really have much food inside the house. I didn’t have any clean clothes to wear. So I would wash my clothes in a bucket.
I wasn’t attending school and the time and would beg my mom to enroll me. I ended up breaking into a house and I was living there with my friends… not to be rebellious… but only because we were poor, we didn’t have much and I was hungry.
Sometimes I’d go to the hospital to get suckers just so I would have something to eat.
I didn’t realize that I was acting differently. I didn’t realize that I became a different person. I didn’t realize what my actions were doing and then one day I decided to use meth. I got stuck on it pretty bad. I spiraled downhill. I had a new boyfriend who used also.
While dating him, I ended up getting kidnapped and exploited by a human trafficker. They held me and my boyfriend and after they stole everything from us, they let us go.
I ended up going to Dream City Church with my aunt and we watched the Christmas play. There was a prayer that said if you haven’t given your life to Christ at the end if you want to… And I was like, Hey, I’m not sure if I really believe in God but I had enough respect that I was gonna bow my head and I was gonna pray when they prayed. Because if there was a higher power, I’m gonna respect that and I took it very seriously. I didn’t realize that that’s when God saved me. And I prayed that prayer at the Dream City Church.
It was after this where I found out I was pregnant. I tried to go back to school, but I wasn’t able to. I decided to call the Phoenix Dream Center.
The staff at Hope Wing helped me with my education. They have a GED class that I am able to take. So I’m going to school and I’m happy to learn and then they’ll help me try to get housing after I take parenting classes. They teach me how to be a mother because I don’t know how – this is my first child.
They pray with me. They encourage me, help me find a job and things that I need to do to learn how to live a life because I don’t know how to live. I’ve never known how to live life. I didn’t know how to go to school. I didn’t know how to have to be structured. I didn’t know how important it was to have God in my life. And now I’m 20 years old and I’m learning.
I need more and I need more time to heal. And one of the things that I need to learn more is that the old me is gone. When I was baptized, when I came to Christ, that’s the new me. I am victorious. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I will accomplish what needs to be done with God’s help. I’m not that weak person. Before I looked in the mirror and I couldn’t even recognize myself sometimes. There were times when I would look in the mirror and I couldn’t even look at myself – I was disgusted. But now I can look at myself in the mirror and if I feel bad about myself I’ll say, No, that’s the old me. That’s the old person saying that you’re not good enough or feel insecure. I know tell myself I’m beautiful. I’m wanted. I’m loved because Christ loves me. I’m a work in progress.
I’m happy that I’m at the point that I am right now in my life.
One step at a time with God. Just one step at a time.”
At the Phoenix Dream Center we walk alongside women like Victoria and help them along their recovery and healing journey.
Together we’re not just fighting to end human trafficking, but we are enabling survivors to HEAL, DREAM, and THRIVE!