Repairing Womans Lives

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Susan Munsey has a mission to help victims of sex trafficking in the U.S.. Along with many others who want parents to be aware of what could be happening to their child or to girls who have been through this to know that it is okay to speak out and find help and recover from the traumatic experience.

Munsey has taken it very personally. When she was 15, growing up in Los Angeles, she started dating a man that was the “man of her dreams”. She never had a boyfriend before she stated that she was “insecure and didn’t have a lot of self-esteem. And here I had this 24-year-old boyfriend. Wasn’t I something special?” He started abusing her and forced her to sell her body. She was arrested for prostitution months later. She hasn’t talked about this part of her past in 30 years. She is 61 now and states, “I was really afraid people would judge me. I was afraid to share that part of my life.” Years later, she was armed with her own survival and research she wanted to do something about the sex trafficking problem in San Diego. The city is among the top 13 highest sex trafficking areas in the country, according to the FBI.

In 2009, she founded Generate Hope, a nonprofit organization that offers a safe place for survivors of sex trafficking. It allows the victims a place to heal and build a new life. The group provides long-term housing, therapy, education, and medical care. “It’s not just about creating safety physically, but psychologically as well,” Munsey stated to CNN. Participants in this group participate in classes that way they have a chance to catch up in their high school education. They each receive therapy and there are multiple group therapies each week. Women can stay at the safe house for two years and benefit from a variety of volunteer-led support services. Up to today, Munsey says Generate Hope has been a refuge for more than 100 victims, some were as young as the age of 18, women she calls “survivors”.

In a small classroom in San Diego’s South Bay, Janelle McCammack combines her experience as a legal advocate and as an educator to serve the woman at Generate Hope. “They’ve been told over and over that they can’t think for themselves. I think for you,” McCammack states to a San Diego local news station. She teaches in this classroom to remind the students that they can think and work for themselves, that they are their own person. These basic lessons have transformed the lives of many students who are healing from a dark past. “Before I was here I didn’t have any dreams, and now to have big dreams and big places is amazing,” Kenyatta said. The students are gaining a more valuable lesson at Generate Hope, a new found freedom, and the opportunity to think for themselves.

A San Diego father says his 19 year-old daughter is being trafficked by an older boyfriend she met when she was in high school. The father said in June the girl’s mother found evidence of their daughter being trafficked online. This painful revelation came to light the very same week a San Diego based-leadership academy, began fundraising campaign for Generate Hope, which he is now a member of. “I would have never imagined becoming a voice to help survivors of sex trafficking but I really believe there’s purpose behind this,” the father stated. “To any parents out there, I’m bringing awareness to you to really keep an eye out on your children and know that there are predators out there,” the father states to a local news station.

These stories have spread across the U.S and parents and victims are speaking out hoping that by doing so they can find peace again. That they can make a change and take a new found freedom and just be happy. Generate Hope wants victims to feel safe and secure to learn who they are and to regain what was taken from them.

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