“I Just Did What I Had to Do”

Posted on by Gracehaven

“Laura” is 17 years old. Her mother's substance abuse issues, frequent incarcerations and involvement with violent men forced Laura into foster care where she was sexually abused when she was very young. She was reunited with her mother at 15, but her mom struggled to make ends meet and was being abused by one boyfriend after another. The oldest of three daughters, Laura felt a responsibility to help keep her family together. When her much older boyfriend suggested she do so by selling sex, she agreed, believing she had no other options. Laura was consistently exploited for two years, giving the majority of her earnings to her mother and "boyfriend." Because her home was an active trafficking situation, she was taken into custody by children's services.

When a Gracehaven case manager met her a year ago, she insisted she wasn't being trafficked and just "did what I had to do." She also insisted her boyfriend loved her, and nothing she had endured was his fault. She ran away from many of her placements, but in each one her case manager continued to meet with her, doing her best to show her unconditional love and grace.

 Laura was placed into our residential house where she continued her therapy in an accepting and graceful environment. She experienced first-hand how she can be loved just for who she is, not what she does.  She also learned about Christ and the new life she can have in Him. And because of this, she accepted Him as her savior.

We’re so grateful that Laura is in a much better place. She now recognizes her former boyfriend as her trafficker. She enjoys discussing the red flags of traffickers so that she can avoid them in the future. And with the hope in Christ, she’s beginning to believe she has value and that there is life after trafficking.

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