I grew up on the west side of Phoenix and my life was pretty good throughout my childhood. I was an A+ student, I was smart, I was on the honor roll throughout junior high and high school. My life was pretty good… that is, until my mom met my stepdad.
He was a great man, or at least we thought he was a great man. He was a child molester. He molested my older sister for years and I had to go through the pain of watching her get molested each and every day and every night. I would lay in my bed and I would cry because I didn’t know how to help my sister. I would lay in my bed and I would hope and pray that he would not come in my room. I was so scared of my stepdad.
He played the role of a good father but he wasn’t a good father. My mom didn’t know about what was going on. We were scared to tell her – we were afraid because we thought, What would our family think of us, you know? What would he do to us? What would we say? How would we say it?
My mom loved this man. She had three kids by this man that she called her husband and all the while she knew nothing… she knew nothing throughout my childhood. I became afraid, I became scared, I became very anxious and when my mom did finally find out that he was molesting my older sister and trying to molest me, then the family just broke. It broke apart.
I didn’t know what else to do… I was lost, I was a lost teenager.
At the age of 14, I was exploited by two female human traffickers. I became their victim. I thought they were my friends but little did I know they were trying to join me in with them and they had a strong hold on me because what my mom was not giving me, they were giving me. They were showing me love and they were showing me that they cared for me. They were there for me, they bought me things, they were so compassionate towards me – at least I thought so.
And then they hit me with it one day. They told me, Do you want to make some money? And I agreed and after that I just followed after them… I worshiped them, I thought I loved them.
They exploited me out on the streets day and night, day and night all day – all night I would bring the money home to them. The thing is about them is that they never hit me. That’s why I thought that they loved me.
I was out on those streets alone. I had no one. I was getting raped, I was getting stolen from. And then one day one day I was sitting at the bus stop and this random guy came and sat next to me. I thought that he wanted something from me like every other guy and I sat there and he sat next to me and he looked at me and he said, You are a very beautiful girl. And I said thank you. And he told me, What are you doing out here? And I told him, I don’t know. And he started ministering to me the Word of God.. He started putting in my head what God had for me and what plans He had for me and that I don’t belong out on the streets.
That changed my life. I went to school – I was dirty and I was hungry and I told my counselor what was going on and she began to call all the shelters. Every shelter denied me continuously, every shelter kept denying me. And so our last call was the Phoenix Dream Center’s Human Trafficking Program. My counselor called and they said they would accept me right away. That night I came to the Phoenix Dream Center and, little did I know, that that moment would change my life forever.
I was just happy that I had a place to lay my head. I didn’t care about anybody or the program. As time went on, I began to make friends and I began to learn about God and who I truly am and not what others say about me. The classes here are extraordinary – you go to parenting class, we go to church, we go to anger management. This program has changed my life. I never thought that I would be the person I am today. I can’t believe that I’m here. I can’t believe that I have a beautiful baby girl and she’s in my life. I can’t believe that God is blessing me right now. I can’t believe that I have friends. I can’t believe that I’m a changed person because of this one little place called the Phoenix Dream Center.
To this day, I still can’t believe it.
God has brought me places that I never knew I could go. He has chased me from the inside out and I praise Him and I thank Him every day for this.