I feel emotionally drained after writing Emma's story. It begins in the dark world of sex-trafficking where hope is a fantasy.
Her story will probe hearts and minds, not only with compelling plot twists, but with gut-twisting truths from this modern-day plague of sex-trafficking.
The baffling part of sex-trafficking is the demand. Where does it come from? What inspires someone to buy sex? And especially, what prompts someone to buy sex with a child?
There are mountain ranges of statistics. But we're not talking about statistics. We're talking about children.
It's easy to focus on the problem. You can't miss it. It's huge. But we also need to focus on solutions.
There is hope. Awareness is rising. A collective conscience is awakening.
One of the answers is to stop the demand.
How do we stop it?
We start by being honest—taking a look at the problem—a deeply compassionate, human look at the problem.
Then we take a look in the mirror.
No time for shame. No time for guilt or self doubt. Look at yourself and see the vulnerability we all share. Those tiny lines that count the years. That freckle that didn't use to be there. That gray hair that won't stay hidden or go away. Life looks back at you.
We are all the same. We live. We breathe. We move. We are vulnerable.
But we don't all make our own choices. We don't all live freely. Choose the air we breathe. Move where and when we want to move. We don't all get the chance to be children. Some have their childhood stolen.
We need to ask ourselves some difficult questions.
Are we doing anything that promotes the demand?
Are we doing anything to discourage it, to stop it?
What are we clicking? What are we liking?
What are we scrolling past?
Who are we walking past? Who do we ignore? Who do we celebrate?
I feel the burden of more questions than answers. And it's natural to read the mind-blowing statistic of 300,000 children trafficked each year in the United States alone as a crushing tsunami that drowns all hope.
But there is hope.
Emma's story begins in that tsunami. Abuse and neglect shape her into a jaded runaway, and she finds herself going under like part of the debris churned beneath wave after wave. She loses herself, and she loses hope.
But hope never loses her.
Even in the deepest darkness, there is still hope. Her story shines a light into that darkness.
As difficult as it was to research and write this novel, I can hardly wait to produce a finished product for you to read.
To those of you who are avid readers, especially those who read suspense and thrillers, I will be looking for beta readers soon. If you would like to be considered as a beta reader, please subscribe or drop me an email.