A call the day before Christmas Eve informed one foster mother in Oklahoma about a sixteen-year-old girl in need of a family in time for the holidays. She had been waiting in a shelter for a family as parental rights had just been terminated when neither of her parents attended any court hearings. Her circumstances were unique, though, because she wasn’t picked up by child welfare because of abuse by her parents. She was picked up from a hospital, who called caseworkers when no parents were willing or able to care for her.
This young girl’s story wasn’t just one of abuse. It was one of slavery, of being “bought” in South America, tied to the underside of a train, and trafficked into the United States by handlers who pushed her through the desert without food or water. She witnessed others being raped and shot, was twice robbed at gunpoint, and was severely malnourished and dehydrated by the time she arrived in Texas. There she was squeezed into the back of the truck with many other adolescents and shipped off to the older man who had paid for her.
When she had an opportunity to escape him by jumping out of his car, she threw herself down an embankment into traffic and was soon found and taken to the hospital. The mission of the National Foster Parent Association is to support foster parents in achieving safety, well-being, and permanency for the infants, children, and youth in their care. This includes those who have come into care due to human trafficking. The trauma issues are compelling.
The Blue Campaign is the unified voice for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to combat human trafficking. Working in collaboration with law enforcement, government, non-governmental and private organizations, the Blue Campaign strives to protect the basic right of freedom and to bring those who exploit human lives to justice.
Through the Blue Campaign, DHS raises public awareness about human trafficking, leveraging partnerships to educate the public to recognize human trafficking and report suspected instances. The Blue Campaign also offers training to law enforcement and others to increase detection and investigation of human trafficking and to protect victims and bring suspected traffickers to justice.
The National Foster Parent Association invites you to join us in the #WearBlueDay campaign as a show of support for these children and young people. #WeWearBlueBecause we support the safety, well-being, and healing of these survivors and the advocacy needed to stop the trauma of sex trafficking.