June 17th, 2013
This was originally posted to the: Alexia Foundation’s blog on 12/05/2012.
I sat, on the end of the row of chairs, feeling like the journalist. The outsider, the observer, the untrusted. Not because my intention is exploitive, but because I don’t directly help people. I tell stories, hoping the people who see them will learn something and want to act on their new knowledge.
I was at a training meeting for the Organization of Prostitution Survivors (OPS); the intention of the series was to get volunteers and board members on the same page, although most already were.
The room was split fairly evenly between survivors of prostitution and social services providers, though to categorize so simply is unjust. Many fit both roles and, it seemed, all had some kind of a story.
Like the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting next door, whose cheers and clapping I could hear through the wall, this group thrived on sharing. On honesty and vulnerability. Some were talking about horrific experiences they owned; to do this meant trusting the people in the room.
The only reason I was in the room is I have been researching the story of domestic minor sex trafficking in Seattle for four years, hunting for funding and trying to do this without repeating earlier mistakes; the kind where I overextend myself financially and personally.
And that’s when it clicked. Sitting in that chair I remembered, and my own story became clearer.
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