A Trafficked Child’s Account

Voices of the Present and the Future would like to bring to attention the human trafficking industry on this last day of Mental Awareness Month.

There have been millions of women, men and children around the world who have been and who continue to be subjected to forced labor, domestic servitude, or the sex trade at the hands of these human traffickers. It’s a form of modern-day slavery, the inhumane practice of human trafficking that takes place here in the United States as well.

Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes investigated by ICE. In it’s worst manifestation, human trafficking is akin to modern-day slavery. They are forced into¬† prostitution, involuntary labor and other forms of servitude to repay debts-often incurred during entry into the United States.

One story from a child who was trafficked:

“I was 17 around when I met ‘Robert’. It started off with me and my friend meeting him for social purposes. It just went on for about nine months and we were living in different hotels the entire time and I don’t even remember how many men there were. I was a runaway and wasn’t living anywhere stable, so since I was underage most of the time, I sort of needed him in order to get hotels and move around.

I had already been a prostitute since I was 15 and I think I just didn’t even know what was right or wrong and how I should be treated. Towards the end, he held me against my will in a hostage situation and forced me to prostitute and took all the money and just beat me severely.

The last time I saw him, he was just beating me until he was absolutely tired. I was covered in bruises, my face was completely disfigured and it’s causing me issue with my back to this day because of the way he was beating me and torturing me. That was probably the worst. There was a client in the room and he was having issue with something I couldn’t do because I was all beat up. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I didn’t want to do anything. He wanted his money back. When Robert and him were talking I ran out of the room and somehow was able to run faster than him.

I didn’t tell anyone. I kept it to myself until I got a call from the FBI that he’d been arrested for something else and asked would I talk. Having to go face everything and realize how serious everything was. For the longest time I didn’t even think it was that serious.

At the trial, it felt empowering to look at him the entire time. I’m sure it drove him crazy. He can never touch me but he had to look at me and listen and it made me feel good.

I had to learn that if I don’t at least have some kind of love and value for myself, no one ever will. My advice to other girls would be to let people help you.”

Empower yourself and help empower other writers, leave comments, follow, subscribe or just hit the like button. If you have a similar story to share we would love to hear it. Let us know what you have to say here at Voices, past, present,and future.

Mental Awareness Month

Good Morning friends. It’s been a few days for me, but now that the holiday weekend has now come to an end, graduations have come and gone (pre-K and First Grade for me), the graduation parties, the holiday barbeque’s, we can now fully dive back in to work. I devoted some long deserved time to my reading, so that I can return some books to the library on time, and worked on my short story course. I wasn’t fully off duty.

If you’re anything like me, your house is never television free. Somewhere there is always a TV on. As Stephen King say, “Television is on of the worst things you can have as a writer.” For me, THIS IS SO TRUE!

I was also trying to work out some of the kinks in my first draft. Where I want to take this character, what situation I would like to put this character in, and does this character really need to be in the book? Reworking the outline persay.

As the month of Mental Awareness comes to a close, I look back on some of my past articles/posts and I urge those of you who struggle with anything to seek help, be it a friend you can confide in, a pastor (preacher/ any religious person whom you trust), a family member, a spouse, or doctor. Don’t cheat yourself out of the life you deserve and the happiness you deserve.

Take a moment and love yourself today. Support your friends and fellow writers.

THE ART FORM OF SHORT STORIES

Voices of the Present dares to bring you a little something different to the table today. I am working on a short story course and I thought (by chance) some of you may just benefit from the course as well.

“A novel is a daily labor of love over a period of years. A novel is job. But a story can be like a mad, lovely visitor, with whom you spend a rather exciting weekend.”

-Lorrie Moore

In writing a short story, you can be bolder, wilder, than you might dare be with a novel where you’re buckled in for the long hual. The brevity of the form of short stories allows for experimentation. You can write lots of short stories, and try lots of different things.

Some authors are famous mainly for their short stories. They include: Alice Munro, Flannery O’Conner, Charles Baxter, Eudora Welty, Raymond Carver, Mary Robison, John Cheever, and Kelly Link. This is only to name a few.

If you are like me, and are interested in publishing your fiction, short stories may be a good way to start. There are many literary magazines that publish short stories. There is a searchable directory here: https://www.pw.org/literarty_magazines

Publishing our short stories in magazines may allow us to build a trach record as a professional author that can also attract the attention of literary agents.

I CAN ONLY ADVISE YOU AS I AM BEING ADVISED IN MY COURSE.

WRITING PROCESS:

As we sit down to write the first draft of our story, it states that it is probably not helpful to think too much about story-writing technique.

The teaches advised not to worry about coming up with a great beginning or writing nice sentences. We will deal with all of that later, during the revision stage.

Our first draft is for generating raw material. To turn off the analytical, judging part of our brains and tap into our imaginations. To try to lose ourselves in the daydream of the story.

I ASK YOU TO JOIN ME AS I WORK THROUGH THE FIRST ASSIGNMENT, AS I HAVE GIVEN IT TO YOU FOR FREE.

ASSIGNMENT:

We are to throw a problem at a character and see what happens.

STEP 1: Choose a name for your character. Then, imagine some more details about this person, such as:

  • age
  • profession
  • physical description
  • positive personality traits
  • negative personality traits

STEP 2: Come up with three ideas for problems the character might face.

EXAMPLES:

  • lost cat
  • inappropriate feelings for his mother-in-law
  • ghost haunting her attic

STEP 3: Choose one of the problem ideas, and make it as specific as possible. (If your idea is aready specific, you can skip this step)

EXAMPLES:

  • If the problem is low self-esteem a more specific version might be: “wants to ask out the barrista at his local coffee house, but can’t believe any woman would ever be interested in him.”
  • If the problem is money trouble, a more specific version might be: “lost her job, needs rent money in one week to avoid eviction.”

STEP 4: How might your character react to the problem? Come up with three ideas.

STEP 5: Now, pick one of the ideas from step 4. The character is doing it. Take a few minutes to imagine the scene. Play it like a movie in your head.

STEP 6: Now, you’re going to write one sentence about something in the scene you just imagined. This sentence should either describe a physical action, or else it should be a line of dialogue.

STEP 7: The sentence you wrote for step 6 is going to be the first line of a story. It’s okay if it comes from the middle or the end of a scene! Use it as your starting point, and see what happens.

I ASK YOU TO JOIN ME IN THIS PROCESS AND COME UP WITH IDEAS TOGETHER. WE CAN LEARN THIS PROCESS TOGETHER.

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST AND WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE WORKING THROUGH THESE LESSONS WITH ME LEAVE A COMMENT.

STRUGGLES

Ok guys, I had a week long full of family struggles. I’m sure you all have been through the same. We are a community and we should support one another and not forget to reach out and be there. I found a short story I wanted to share with you.

THE BUTTERFLY

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.

One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Until it suddenly stoppeeed making progress and looked like it was stuck.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily, although it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man didn’t think anything of it and say there waiting for the wings to enlarge to support the butterfly. But that didn’t happen. The butterfly spent the rest of its life unable to fly, crawling around with tiny wings and a swollen body.

Despite the kind heart of the man, he didn’t understand that the restricting cocoon and the struggle needed by the butterfly to get itself through the small opening; were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings to prepare itself for flying once it was out of the cocoon.

MORAL:

Our struggles in life develop our strengths. Without struggles, we never grow and never get stronger.

To Jump or Not

In a day and age, where there is war, there are rising prices, there is isolation due to the Coronavirus, and we all have our eyes glued to social media; In a time when our mental health is being challenged I offer you this:

THE GROUP OF FROGS (ENCOURAGEMENT)

As a group of frogs was traveling through the woods, two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs crowded around the pit and saw how deep it was, the told the two frogs that there was no hope left for them. However the two frogs decided to ignore whatthe others were saying and they proceeded to try and jump out of the pit. Despite their efforts, the group of frogs at the top of the pit were still saying that they should just give up. That they would never make it out.

Eventually, one of the frogs took heed to what the others were saying and he gave up, falling down to his death. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said,

“Did you not hear us?”

The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

I offer you the moral of this story:

People’s words can have a big effect on other’s lives. Think about what you say before it comes out of your mouth. It might just be the difference between life and death.

Encourage those around you to fight for their life. To embrace that which gives them light and hope. As a community it is our job to lift those who otherwise may give up and let defeat and death take hold.

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