Recently, we spoke with Paul Haines of Freedom a la Cart – a social enterprise bringing hope to survivors of human trafficking so they can build a new life of freedom and self-sufficiency. In this podcast, we dove deeper into this conversation with April Thacker, the caseworker at Freedom a la Cart, to hear her story as a survivor of human trafficking.
What is Human Trafficking?
If I’ve learned anything about human trafficking, it’s that as soon I think I know what it is, I find out I’m wrong — there is no single story or background that trafficking effects, or any single simple definition. Human trafficking is complex and comes in countless forms — and this is an essential story to share as a foundation for creating change.
“The United Nations defines human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation.”
Please do listen to April’s story: I can’t recreate it in writing — her story is an important one to share because it illustrates how subtle and manipulative trafficking can be — and paints one picture of how human trafficking happens in our communities.
What’s the point?
One thing that really struck me, is that viewing oneself as a victim of human trafficking has nothing to do with not taking responsibility. April explained that she couldn’t even see herself as a victim until after she started working with Freedom a la Cart. It’s not a question of taking responsibility for your actions, but of understanding that you weren’t alone in making those choices… which can help tackle the guilt and shame that holds one back. Recovery isn’t easy — it’s not just “oh, I’m going to get a job and build a new life” — externally you’re facing a history of felonies, negative stigmas from society, and any legal issues stemming from your past, internally you’re dealing with trauma and addiction.
There is so much in life that we can take for granted, that sometimes we don’t know what’s missing when we don’t have a role model to share with us a different way. But even more critical is having support as you build your life in a new direction.