Do You See Me?

BY CASSANDRA CHIA

“One Venti Soy Mocha for Sasha!”

I opened my eyes, pulling myself out of the Panic! at the Disco trance I had been deliriously floating in for the past twenty minutes waiting for my Starbucks drink. Pulling one of my earbuds out, I could fully register the airport bustle—people chatting about how excited they were to go to New York for winter break, others playfully joking about how much they had filled every inch of their suitcase for a three day trip. 

Smiles everywhere, including the one I had plastered on my face as I got my still-hot drink, grateful for the warmth and the delicious dose of caffeine coming my way. Winter technically only started two days ago but the weather outside was already bringing in throngs of people flushed and red-nosed. 

I pulled out my flight ticket—a one way trip to Malaysia to teach. Something I always wanted, I thought, biting my lip. To help. And I was a flight away from doing that—

Suddenly, I was on the ground. I looked up, annoyed, at the person who interrupted my inner pep talk. 

It was a tall, burly man with sharp, menacing incisors poking out of his scowl. 

“Watch where you’re going,” he growled. 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there,” I said, in an effort to be polite, despite the fact that I was standing still against a wall. 

That’s when I noticed a young girl so hidden behind Mr. Incisors that I would’ve missed her were it not for her odd clothing. She was obviously not wearing enough to keep her warm and protected against the tremendous cold outside. All she had on was a worn hoodie and pants that would’ve been perfect for summer. Her boots were about three sizes too big and showcased several miserable holes in them. She looked to be around twelve years old. 

“Hey, are you okay?” I asked the girl.

Instead of answering, she avoided eye contact and looked down at her feet. I followed her gaze and gasped in surprise. Bruises, bruises, bruises—all over her legs. 

“She’s fine. Leave us alone,” the man said gruffly on her behalf, shuffling her away. 

They left me speechless. What just happened? I glanced in their direction, making sure to do it somewhat inconspicuously. Something’s not right. Maybe he’s her dad? How did she get those bruises? Questions flooded my mind and nothing could relieve them. I sat for a while, debating if I should notify airport security. I mean, it’s none of my business, right? What if she got the bruises from playing soccer and I’m overthinking this? Still, the feeling in my stomach never settled and my coffee got cold. 

I half-hoped I would never see them again. But as I walked towards the line for baggage check, I spied the same hoodie holding hands with the man. He moved to heave his enormous bag onto the conveyor belt, turning his back on the girl. In an unconscious move, the girl pushed her sleeves up.

I froze.

It was a tattoo. Bar code, with ‘DADDY’ inked above it in a cursive scrawl. 

My head was ringing with the warning signs. The signs I learned from a college seminar so many years ago. The signs for human trafficking. Could it be? I looked around to see if anyone saw the inappropriate tattoo on the young girl’s arm. No one seemed to. 

“I don’t have anything that is worth searching my bag for!” 

The saber-toothed man was standing on the opposite side of the metal detector, yelling at a member of airport security who was inspecting his bag. The crowd of travellers was fixated on this very strange man causing a scene but I headed straight for the girl, now alone on my side of the metal detector. Her bare toes were resting on the grey-speckled airport floor after removing her shoes. Seeing this gave me a surge of courage. 

“Hey, what’s your name?” I asked in a gentle voice.

Silence.

“Who is that man that’s with you?” I prodded, more firmly this time.

Her brown eyes were darting around me, probably trying to locate the man. She looked anxious and fidgety.

“He is my employer… He is taking care of me. I am safe,” she replied, as if rehearsing lines out of a script. 

“Where are you guys travelling to? And what for?” I asked.

“I… do not know. He says that he will give me a new job, a new life,” she squeaked.

“And do you have your passport on you? Or maybe a boarding pass?” I continued.

She shook her small head. More fidgeting. And pointed at the man. I looked towards his direction and saw that he was coming straight at us with a sharp glint in his eye. He yanked the girl’s sleeve down and grabbed her arm. The way he was holding it and the way she flinched told me that this kind of behaviour was frequent—even normal. 

“What are you doing? I told you already to leave us alone and stop bothering us. I am her father,” the man said—a threat already positioned in his tone. 

Before he could say anymore, the large silver clock caught his eye and with a dirty look thrown my way, he roughly towed the girl away from the scene. The man was saying something under his breath to the girl; she turned white. Something nagged at me, fuelling a constant stream of unease. It was only after I walked to the one side of the airport that I realized what it was.

Father. He said he was her father. But she said the man was her employer.

I thought about it all: the conflicting information, rehearsed lines, the tattoo, her anxiety and refusal to meet my eye, not having her own passport, not knowing where they were flying to, improper clothes, the bruises—oh those heart-breaking bruises… I didn’t want to admit it but everything added up with increasing certainty. She was a victim of human trafficking. 

But, what was I supposed to do? 

Well, I was supposed to be having a peaceful flight to Malaysia. 

To help people. 

“This is the final boarding call for flight FX1032 to Malaysia,” came over the airport intercom.

I made my decision, I sprinted to the general direction of the departure gates. They weren’t there. I looked at the bathrooms, the busy restaurants, but they were nowhere to be found. Dripping sweat and heart racing, I was circling every part of the airport with my carry-on in tow when—

“Will passenger Sasha Russo of flight FX1032 please make their way to Gate A2?” 

My flight was leaving. But I still couldn’t find the brown-eyed girl. In desperation, I went back to my gate. I didn’t want to miss my flight, I had saved up for this trip for so long. I worked three jobs at once and all three merely paying the minimum wage. I couldn’t give that all up. I just couldn’t. Before I went past the gate, I looked back once, just once. 

And I saw them. 

They had their backs to me this time. She had her arm around him in hug. Maybe he was her dad and she was just confused like little girls are. Maybe I was jumping to conclusions before. Maybe it is none of my business. Maybe I was wrong. All the maybes forced my thoughts into a whirlpool, swirling and swirling until it slowed down and came to a stop. That hug was what I needed to convince myself to do what I did.

I misinterpreted what I thought were signs. 

 They got their boarding passes checked.

She’s safe.

I lost sight of the man and the young girl, and I let her go.

········

That was all five years ago. 

I left Malaysia after three years of teaching. I loved the kids there, all bright and full of spirit. I taught them English and Math every day, barefoot in a shambling building of a rural village, where they listened from their seats behind aged wooden desks. But every time all those brown eyes peered up at me with a certain sense that they had seen too much for their age, I thought about a similar set of eyes on a young girl at an airport years ago. 

And how I failed her. 

I let the detail of a hug completely mislead me and my judgement. Later, I found out that if I was more educated on the issue, I could’ve recognized that as trauma bonding with her trafficker. Hell, I could’ve told someone, anyone. I was blinded and selfish and ignorant and irresponsible. 

I never knew what became of her but I do know that I was in the best possible position to help—and I didn’t. The warning signs were crystal clear; I was aware of what was happening but I was too scared to fully accept it at the time. I allowed an excuse to decide the fate of a girl who needed my help, despite knowing deep in my gut that she was in trouble. The worst thing was, I think I was looking for an excuse.

So now, I do my best to help other people avoid my mistakes. I currently work with an advocacy group against human trafficking, and in particular, child trafficking. As I live day-by-day educating people on the warning signs of a victim of human trafficking, I tell them about that girl. How I was her best shot at freedom. How we are all their best shots at a future. 

And how we should not let them down. 

 

Author’s Note

This piece of fiction highlights some very real and life-saving facts on how to identify a victim of human trafficking. The context of the story follows the setting of an airport, however, it is salient to note that these indicators may occur in any situation such as a hair salon or a restaurant. 

Here is the list of indicators of human trafficking mentioned in the story.

  1. Is not wearing appropriate clothing for the weather 
  2. Possesses signs of physical abuse such as cuts and bruises
  3. Has a tattoo that says ‘DADDY’ or other forms of branding
  4. Demonstrates fearful or nervous behavior or avoids eye contact
  5. Withdrawn; become emotionally numb, detached, and disassociated from the physical and psychological trauma and display “flat affect”
  6. Displays symptoms of anxiety
  7. Story is rehearsed and contradictory
  8. Is unaware of destination or flight information
  9. Is not in possession of over personal or travel documents (passport/boarding pass)
  10. Experiences “trauma bonding” with the trafficker, positively identifying with the trafficker and believing that, despite repeated abuse, the trafficker is a loving boyfriend, spouse, or parent.

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list. However, if you do recognize these signs and believe that someone is a victim of human trafficking, you can help. If the situation becomes urgent and immediate assistance is necessary, call local law enforcement by dialling 911. 

You may also call the National Human Trafficking Hotline, a national 24-hour, toll-free, multilingual anti-trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888 to report a tip or connect to nearby anti-trafficking services.

 

Sources
“Human Trafficking at Airports: 7 Warning Signs.” CNN, Cable News Network, 5 Aug. 2015, www.cnn.com/travel/article/human-trafficking-at-airports/index.html.

“IDENTIFYING VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING FACT SHEET.” National Human Trafficking Resource Center.

“Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking: What to Look for in a Healthcare Setting.” National Human Trafficking Resource Center.

 

About the Author

Cassandra Chia is majoring in English at the University of Iowa with a minor in Theatre Arts and a concentration in Publishing. In line with her passions of writing, editing and marketing, she has taken up leadership roles such as Head Editor of her high school’s yearbook committee and President of Grapevine, a mass communications student organization. Having recently moved to the U.S. from Malaysia, she has experienced the wonder of Olive Garden’s endless breadsticks, the bitter cold of winter, and the concept of drinking water from the sink. On a side note, Cassandra enjoys reading, cooking, acting and being a part of a community. She supports the work of One Bread and firmly believes in the importance of raising awareness on the atrocities of human trafficking.

Four Things You Can Do To Help

BY GUEST BLOGGER, DELFINA HOXHA (ALBANIA)

By definition, a sex trafficking victim is a person suffering extreme distress in a relationship that is exploitive. What happens when the victim is part of a vulnerable and susceptible group such as children? Crimes include trafficking for sexual purposes, prostitution, sex tourism, early marriage, pornography, stripping, and many others. (1)

We say children are the future, but they won't be able to create a better, safer future for everyone if their present isn't safe. Human trafficking is reported to be an issue and have victims in as many as 158 countries, (2) 28% of the victims being kids. (3)

These figures are truly heartbreaking, and trafficked youth needs us - to raise our voices, to speak up on their behalf, to educate ourselves and the people around us. 

By doing so, we raise awareness on the matter and make it easier for victims to speak up and ask for help.

A lot of kids in the horrible world of sex trafficking don't even consider themselves victims, which means they don't seek for help immediately. One of the reasons is that they blame themselves for what has happened to them. Another one is not being able to fully trust the police or the people around them because of the way sex traffickers try to brainwash children, women, etc.

Here are four things you can do to help.

1. Be aware

Youth are prone to manipulation, seeing as their personalities are still forming and their experiences limited. Talking about abuse, be it with them or with your friends, family, and coworkers makes it easier for children and all of us to become aware of early signs of child sex trafficking. Similarly, we'll be more inclined to speak up when we notice them, and thus, do something about it. Prevention is the best cure.

2. Create safe spaces

By providing a non-judgmental safe space for children, encouraging them to talk about their issues and thoughts, you might be saving a life (or five). Try to get to know the kids in your area or school. Their trust may be broken by their exploiters, so having a group or even just a single person they know they can rely on makes a world of difference. 

3. Recognize risk factors

Recognizing youth at risk is quite important, and some of the risk factors include: homelessness/runaway kids; prior history of abuse; having mental health issues; and being LGBTQIA. (4) Children in these high-risk groups are more prone to being abused, so being extra attentive to children in these situations and providing more guidance and help with what we can with them would prove to be a smart choice.

4. Support the cause

The more of us fight, the safer children everywhere in the world will be. You can join organizations, donate, or volunteer for a local center caring for sexually abused children. 100% of the funds we earn from affiliate programs goes directly to the rehabilitation of children rescued from sex trafficking. How can you help us with this? It's simple, by shopping through our link at Amazon, Goodshop or Groupon. Get your shopping fix on while supporting a cause you believe on, all with a click.

We at One Bread Foundation and the children thank you for everything you're doing.

NOTES: 

1. Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2013. Pg. 2. Retrieved from https://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/243838.pdf. Accessed December 2017.

2. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016. Vienna, Austria: UNODC; 2016. Pg. 12. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/glotip/2016_Global_Report_on_Trafficking_in_Persons.pdf. Accessed December 2017.

3. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016. Vienna, Austria: UNODC; 2016. Pg. 6. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/glotip/2016_Global_Report_on_Trafficking_in_Persons.pdf. Accessed December 2017.

4. Polaris Project. Sex Trafficking in the U.S.: A Closer Look at U.S. Citizen Victims. Pg. 4. Retrieved from https://polarisproject.org/sites/default/files/us-citizen-sex-trafficking.pdf. Accessed December 2017.

BIO:

Delfina Hoxha is a psychology graduate writer speaking up about mental health, feminism, self-love, human rights, meditation, and body positivity, among other topics. She believes mental health is the new black and wants to live in a world where everyone is kind and true, to themselves and others.

What A Nightmare…

BY HEATHER COAKLEY

As the newest staff member of One Bread Foundation, I thought I'd take a moment to introduce myself.

I am one of those people who loves "lingo" and enjoys finding creative ways to express the basics. My best friend is actually known for making hyperbole into an art form, and I am not far behind her in that regard. Over the past few years, I've realized that there are some exaggerations that are maybe not the best to use, simply because words are powerful in shaping our thoughts. For example, I've been trying to train my children, ages 9 and 7, not to say "I'm starving" but rather to say "I'm very hungry" because they know nothing of actual starvation. They likely learned the phrase from me, and I'm working to change the way I speak about things to match the truth of the situation.

Since joining One Bread, I've started feeling convicted about another phrase that rolls off my tongue easily and often, namely my habit of referring to an unfortunate event as "a nightmare." In reality, my not being able to find a spot in the Trader Joe's parking lot when I only have fifteen minutes to run in before picking my kids up from school is not a nightmare. Looking in the mirror after a long conversation with someone at the hole-in-the-wall taco bar and finding that I had cilantro in my teeth is not a nightmare. Children who are held in captivity - whether the chains that hold them are literal or psychological - and forced to perform acts that no child should ever be exposed to, let alone participating in... THAT is a nightmare.

I am connected to One Bread Foundation for likely the same reasons that you are reading this blog post. We all want to see justice on the earth. We want to see children living in safety and freedom. We can't fix this nightmare overnight, but we can do SOMETHING. Let's do something. Let's do something together.

The Events page of our website lists upcoming community awareness events sponsored by One Bread Foundation. Each one is an opportunity to educate ourselves and raise money while connecting with like-minded people who want to see a different future for children who desperately need our help. Will you please put these dates on your calendar and plan to join us there?

Free the Chained

BY MELANIE BALDAIA

What joys in your life are you grateful for? Have they been given to you or did you have to earn them? Do you recognize the freedom you have to pursue joy in the first place? Imagine something for a minute if you can. Imagine a life where you are forced to work for almost no pay (or no pay at all) in a place where you cannot wear a clean comfortable uniform, you are drugged constantly in order to perform your duties, and if you try to quit your job your family is at risk of being killed. Most of us can’t really wrap our minds around this kind of existence. I hear a lot of people complain about their jobs, but if any of the conditions applied to a typical establishment, this would probably be a national outrage. It exists today however. These are just some of the horrors that real people face in underworld of human trafficking. Human trafficking is proliferating around the globe. Most people probably think they are unaffected by this new kind of slavery, but we cannot completely disconnect ourselves from it. It even occurs in our local communities.Weneed to be the pliers to break the chains of slavery today.

Maybe you have heard about human trafficking in the past. Maybe you think this is just another irrelevant message about an issue you don’t feel you can combat. Many people, whether out of ignorance or apathy, falsely believe that the dark world of human trafficking is somehow beyond their capability to fight.  Here is the truth, you can and should join in the fight against modern slavery. Is it not our responsibility as human beings to look out for one another?

What steps can you take to help those in need? ADVOCATE. Speaking on behalf of the victims worldwide ( a heavy portion of whom are children) is one of the biggest tools that can be used by every day people like you and I. EDUCATE others. More people need to be informed on the horrors of this terrible industry.  COLLABORATE. Use your skills to raise awareness of this problem. All of these things are crucial to ending the torment of the victims in this evil system of slavery. You CAN help! OneBread foundation is showing you the way. You can donate by shopping on Amazon or Groupon from the onebread website. http://one-bread.org

Victims, NOT Prostitutes!

BY DAVID P. BERNAL

It is not unusual for a teen selling sex to deny that she’s working for someone else, even if against her will.  However, that is exactly what’s going on.

Due to the increase in internet sites offering young girls for escort services, among other things, this problem continues to grow.

Here is the bottom line that the community needs to understand:

“People who are having sex with children are not “Johns” and “Tricks”.  They are child rapists and pedophiles, so we should call then what they are.” - Jada Pinkett Smith

Besides the abduction of children (some as young as 8 or 10 years old), there is the luring of teens via the internet by so-called friends or boyfriends expressing interest in the child.  The abductors and pimps are not always the same person, but the result is the same.  A child or teen is forced to have sex against his/her will with strangers for payment.

The pimps in our area are making $35,000 per week! By selling CHILDREN.

So, we are on a mission to educate the public about human trafficking in the United States.  This growing multi-billion-dollar industry is a cancer growing in our society which must be eradicated.  

The assumption has been that the person selling themselves for sex, was doing so of their own accord and free will.  Yet sex with children and teens does not fall into this category.  

What discernment or discretion does a 14 or 16-year-old have, especially with threatened harm to themselves or their loved ones?

Slavery was wrong before the emancipation proclamation, and it is still wrong today.

We are asking our friends, family members and anyone who will listen to help us make an impact on our culture.

As we move forward with this critical mission of Advocating, Educating and Collaborating with others - all we ask is that you lend your support by shopping online from our website and encouraging others to do the same.

Will you help us to rehabilitate these victims today?! Or will you continue to sit on the sidelines while they continue in slavery?

Even at the Super Bowl

BY KAREN ABBRUSCATO

I live fairly close to the Levi Stadium where the Super Bowl 50 was held last month.  There were so many festivities and hype building up to the big game; Super Bowl City was erected, banners were flying and there was jubilation in the air.  I was attending a Super Bowl party when the Blue Angels flew over the house; and a couple minutes later, they were broadcasted flying over the Levi Stadium.  That’s how intimate the game was for us - it was almost as good as being in the stadium.  All in all, it was a very exciting time for the San Francisco Bay Area, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.

Some people were not so happy to be a part of it.  Unfortunately, wherever there is a convention of masses there is sex trafficking.  An article in the San Jose Mercury News reported 42 suspected victims:  

“The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office said its three-week crackdown on human-trafficking centered around the game -- and a contentiously debated uptick in prostitution activity -- netted the identification of 42 suspected victims. The undercover operation, which focused on local online escort ads, also resulted in the arrests or citations of 30 Johns, and 14 arrests or citations for alleged prostitution-related offenses, including the arrest of a 20-year-old Sacramento woman suspected of pimping a 17-year-old girl.”

I have come to accept that sex trafficking is taking place in my neighborhood, as difficult as it is to comprehend.  I just can’t accept why it is happening here, or anywhere for that matter. Greed, corruption and ego are the characteristics that come to mind with respect to both the Pimps and the Johns.  Prayers are needed for these people to find redemption in their lives.  They live with Satan guiding their ways and the only way to stop them is to lock them up in jail or have them find the road to redemption through Jesus Christ.  

While we’re saying our prayers for the evildoers, we need to say a prayer for the victims who have been abused and have lived the life of destruction: they’ve been told they’re worthless and that nobody cares. These youths need to be rescued, they need to hear that God made them and He doesn’t make mistakes. These victims need to be built up to believe in themselves and that is our job.  

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  Matthew 25:40

Resolute to Reach Out

BY TISZANDRA SEARS 

Resolution: The action of solving a problem; a firm decision to do or not to do something.

As was mentioned in our New Years’ Newsletter – My favorite resolution is to not make a resolution! In the past, New Years has been a month to start something new, to change something in our life, to improve what we find is lacking and/or problematic. When we, within a month, are less than great at meeting our resolution; we cancel all hopes of accomplishing it and walk away. 

What if we did something different! What if we made a resolution to improve on something that we are already doing well? What if – we resolute to improve the situation of someone else’s life? To share what we already have, doing what we already do? 

What if we told you there is a way you can help just by re-routing your normal online shopping trip through our website?  

On One Bread Foundation’s home page we have a unique link to Amazon. Once you click the link to Amazon you can shop amazing deals from Phone Accessories, New Gadgets, E Readers, Baby Needs, Beauty Supplies, and much more. If your normal main resolution is to save money or change your spending habits, Amazon is a good starting point. So why would we route you to our page first? Why wouldn’t we just ask for a donation?

As part of the Amazon Affiliate program every time you click on the Amazon link located on our webpage and purchase something from Amazon, as you normally would – Amazon pays One Bread Foundation a commission. This commission goes 100% back to rehabilitating youth rescued from sex trafficking. 

With one click on our page you would be able to help a child trapped in the horror of sex slavery and trafficking to be rehabilitated back to living a life free and unbound. You would be able to give back to another while saving money, shopping on Amazon. It’s that simple.

So what is your resolution? Mine?! To give back as much as I can in the year to come! Whatever that looks like! 

Value of One Person

By David P. BernaL

“I’m wanting to love them for who they are, where they are, in that moment, whatever that looks like. That is the person I’ve been entrusted with … and I’m called to do something for that person …” —Michele Van Fossen

Michele Van Fossen is not a counselor, a therapist, a pastor, or a priest. Not in the traditional sense of those words. Michele is a hairstylist, and she sees her everyday job as a vehicle for healing the people who sit in her chair.

Pastors do not have a monopoly on ministry. Whatever you do, wherever your work takes you, God has uniquely equipped you to serve and to meet people at their point of need. God has the power to redeem broken hearts and hopeless situations, through your work. You’re probably a lot like Michele. You can probably tell your own story of the sacredness of your work, and the miraculous ways God transforms the ordinary interactions of your day.

These moments of healing and hope that evolve through the course of any regular day? They are no coincidence. We partner with God as we put our hand to the plow—cultivating the ground beneath our feet, literally and figuratively. We carry the image of the Almighty God with us. When we surrender the work of our hands to his miraculous care, God breaks through, changing us, and those we serve, forever, and for good.

Please come join us and help change the world.  Our calling is to Advocate (for those without a voice), Educate (our communities) of the horrors involved with Human Trafficking and Collaborate (with others involved in both the rescue and rehabilitation efforts).   

What is the value of one person’s redeemed life?

Evil In All Ways

by Karen Abbruscato

At One Bread Foundation we strive to raise the awareness of the sex trafficking trade so we are not all turning a blind eye to the horrors of that industry.  Sex trafficking makes slaves out of victims, makes sinners out of the customers and feeds the sickness of greed in the owners.  It is evil in all ways.  

At One Bread Foundation, we want you to know that it is going on around us and that there are ways you can help stop it.  

We need to keep our eyes open and report what we see.   Was there a young teenage girl dressed inappropriately on the street corner, or loitering outside the convention center that could be reported and potentially saved?  Airports, convention centers, and motels are all potential places for us to open our eyes and see more than we want to. 

We need to be impartial when we see a woman or child on the street because we don’t know their story. Many of them are there involuntarily, or they’ve become controlled by an addiction and are there to feed it.  Some were brutally kidnapped, others were run-aways from a bad home situation. Whatever their story is, it needs to be told and we will only hear it once they’re rehabilitated.  

We need to be passionate about saving the victims once they’re rescued. They often don’t have much self worth because it has been stripped of them.  The healing process will be a long one, which requires them learning trust, self worth, and respect of themselves and others. 

Once they’re rescued, many don’t have a place to call home so we need to love them and provide them with education, housing, counseling and a renewed purpose in life.  We need you to help in this area, by supporting One Bread Foundation.  

One Bread Foundation’s first annual fashion show is November 21st at the Oak Park Christian Center in Pleasant Hill, CA.  We hope you will join us in this crucial fundraising event that is 100% in support of rehabilitating children rescued from sex trafficking.   The children, ages 10 – 18, are brought to a safe place where they learn to love themselves and acquire the life skills they need for the new chapter in their life.  

Please join us on Nov 21st; the fashion show will be a beautiful uplifting event where Fashions by Francesca’s will be modeled by our OBF volunteers.  Tea, sandwiches, dessert and coffee will be served to each attendee while entertained by Emcee, Faith Alpher of KKIQ Radio.  

Tickets are available online on our events page or by contacting Kelly Woo, One Bread Foundation, Inc.’s Event Coordinator for details:  kwoo@just-bread.org or (888) 252-5939 Ext. 702. If you’re not able to make it to the event I hope that you can purchase a seat as a donation.  

I look forward to seeing you there.  

Shop, Share, Support

by Tiszandra Sears

Are you tuning in for the first time? Have you had the chance to take a look at the previous blogs and posts from various team members of our One Bread Foundation team? 

Please allow me to catch you up to speed.

One Bread Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose goal is to aid in providing funds to help rehabilitate children saved out of sex trafficking. We are collaborating with New Day for Children to accomplish this mission. We are based in San Francisco Bay, California – and YES the problem that we are speaking of is right here in our back (and front!) yards. We have one very simple plan, to shop with you and raise money! Through the Amazon Affiliate program we are able to bring in a percentage of every order that is placed on Amazon when the shopper clicks on our unique link to Amazon right here on our website. It truly is that simple! All of the profits from this program are donated 100% back to rehabilitating these kids. 

We are just starting out. We are merely just babes in this organization. In such a short time we have already established multiple social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+), partnered with Macy’s for Shop for a Cause; and are currently planning our very first Annual Benefit Fashion Show with Francesca’s. We are branching out each day to be more and more effective, to bring our stories and our work to your inbox, your notification bar, your message screen – EVERYWHERE. Because children are depending on us. They are depending on all of us – to get the word out and to help them. To get them on their feet and off of the streets. 

It is estimated that 76% of sex transactions with young girls starts on the INTERNET. And if you have been on an advertising page on Facebook, you understand that it is starting to get even more blatant.  

“One study determined that minors who are trafficking victims are sold 10 to 15 times a day, six days a week. That means that each victim is "used" 9,360 to 14,040 times a year. Can you imagine the level of trauma that would produce in a child?” (http://www.endslaverytn.org)

We need you! We need our team members and our One Bread family to come behind us and “share” us on social media. To “like” us and “follow” us. We need coverage. If the above statistics, and the previous blogs below doesn’t explain it, maybe an introduction into my past will help.

My name is Tiszandra Sears. I was a victim of sexual molestation and rape from the age of 13 until 18. Multiple occasions I begged for relief and begged for it to stop. I acted out, sometimes inappropriately, waiting for someone to notice. I was threatened that if I said anything that my abuser would not be able to support my family. So, trying to be the hero and allow my siblings to have a good chance at success, I kept my mouth shut and silently begged for someone to notice. I was assaulted right under the nose of my closet family members. With every passing year I learned to hate myself and started to harm myself and contemplate suicide. A young lady that attended a nearby Bible College spoke to my heart one day and reminded me of the hope found in Christ, unknowing of my situation. 

Years continued, I drew closer to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I followed my friend to Bible College and started learning the Word. It was there that I was surrounded with loving support. When everything came out and my family cut all ties with me, I had the support of a hundred prayer warriors and a few close friends that helped financial when all I had was a bed set and some clothes to my name. Because of this support I went on to start a career, get married, start a life with my husband, move across the country of Canada, and start another career. I get to discuss one day having a family. I get to worship side by side with my husband on Sunday morning. I get to experience daily first world comforts including the two homes we currently own and our vehicles, our cats, internet, and the list goes on. 

And all of this, yes through our hard work it is paid for, but through the grace and support I received in my life I was able to get on my feet in order to work hard and grow beyond my past. When two of my dear younger family members came out with their own story of abuse I was able to be their rock and support. I was able to love them the way my past support loved me. They were not alone. I thank the Lord every day and all those that have had a part in my life, who believed in me, and looked past my rough edges. Those who saw more than a broken girl. I could have very well been a statistic, been on the streets, found solace in drugs and alcohol (after all, that is the path set out before me by many folks in my own family), but that is not my story.

And it shouldn’t have to be the story of many children out there. Let’s be that support for them! We may never know their names, but there is One who does. There is One who is able to comfort them. Together we can provide rehabilitation. We can provide stability with the resources available. We can provide public education. However, we cannot provide anything without you. Without someone to shop with us on Amazon, without someone to simply share a Facebook post. 

If I knew, as a 15 year old, that one share on Facebook would bring rescue and rehabilitation from the nightmare I was in, I would have begged you on my knees. There is someone who is begging us, and we do have the resources. Will you help us? 

Shop. Share. Support. It is that easy!