She was a no-nonsense woman. Before we even asked she said she was having issues with her middle child, Maria, age 14. Maria (whose name I’ve changed for privacy) doesn’t get along with her older brother.
They used to get along but now they don’t. Maria’s well-behaved at school and at the after school ministry but not at home. Maria now hates to be touched.
Though no defined lines were stated, exploring between them is terrifying.
In Guatemala, it is not usual for brothers to take advantage of their sisters. It is much more common than fathers their daughters.
The horrors of sex trafficking stood right in front of me in the form of a teary-eyed mother concerned about a daughter, the little girl who sleeps in that bunk bed and eats from this fridge in this one-room home in a dump community in Guatemala City.
Though I didn’t get to meet her, we served hot dogs, chips, slaw, and a cookie to Maria and 60 other children whose parents work in the dump. I couldn’t help but wonder how many of them face the same reality.
Unfortunately, Maria is not alone in her story.
The following day we heard about Jose (also not his real name). Jose was raped by his cousins when he was 12. When he told his step-father, his supposed-to-be rescuer raped him again. That was only the beginning.
For the next five years of his life, Jose was forced to transport drugs around Central America by swallowing them. When he reached his destination, men were permitted to have their way with him.
Seventeen now, Jose is back in Guatemala hidden and protected as he undergoes medical and psychiatric care.
I hate this.
I hate that Maria and Jose’s stories are real.
I hate that they’re not limited to Central America.
I hate that even here in the States children are living in this horrible reality.
While I was in Guatemala, I was reading Come Alive by Elora Nicole Ramirez. The novel tells Stephanie’s story of being used to pay her father’s debts. Stephanie is forced into prostitution by her father, never seeing any of the money herself. She is drugged and raped by as many as four men at a time.
Here in the States.
Rescue is coming.
Repeatedly Stephanie’s friends assure her that rescue is coming.
But what about for these other children?
Jose’s rescue was successful but will it continue to be?
Is Maria’s rescue coming?
What are you looking for?