Thursday, February 4, 2010

Miami Human Trafficking Outreach Day1

1:13 PM
They set off from gray and dreary Tampa and 5 hours later found themselves in bright and sunny Miami. Four new friends embarked on an adventure with one common goal, and it changed their lives forever.

OK, that's what the beginning of our road trip sounded like in my head, if narrated by James Earl Jones in our Oscar winning film. That really wasn't the case though. We took off from Tampa Wednesday morning, and after a Starbucks run, we were on our way to Miami. It was a unique group of us, myself, Macualay and Tiffany from my house church, and Pam who is a friend of a friend. So it had the potential to be awkward, but thanks to good music and car games, it was not! The drive down was easy and stress-free, and by the time we saw the Miami skyline, we were giddy.

We got in earlier than most of the people we were meeting, so after we found where were staying for the night, we went to the only place to go in Miami...South Beach! It was already packed with football-loving fans, and even by 4:30pm, people were in the partying mood. As we walked along the actual beach at South Beach, we stumbled upon stage set up for a concert...and Rihanna doing her sound check! So we listened to a bit of a free Rihanna concert, and then continued walking the streets. The South Beach architecture is really unique. In the Art Deco district, it all feels very retro. But each building is different in its design and each beautiful to look at.

Our training with Kristi's House began later that night, and we began to meet the other volunteers we'd be working with over the week. Six organizations came together to make this event happen [FCAHT, Kristi's House, Stand Up for Kids, F.R.E.E. International, Klass Kids, Global Child Outreach] which is real exciting to see the collaboration. We split up into teams, and received our canvassing locations, and then were off to the streets!

I was assigned to South Beach, which I thought would be really intriguing from 10pm – 2am! We were basically looking for girls who looked as if they were prostituting themselves and were under age. We'd approach them when they were not with a guy [pimp or john] and with other girls. We'd just let them know that we worked with an organization for girls “in the life” or “in the game” and if they ever need anything, here was a number they could call. It was a generic card so if the pimps found it, the card wouldn't look suspicious.

The first girl my group approached was very obviously under 18, even though she told us otherwise. She was really receptive to the card, the number, and possibly needing help. She said she was in town from Cincinnati for the Super Bowl. Other girls we approached weren't receptive, and really didn't have too much too say. But hopefully just one will call Kristi's House when they need help, and are able to leave this life on the streets.

Our night wrapped up about 2am, and we headed back to the church gymnasium floor we are sleeping on. Nothing says outreach like sleeping on a basketball court.

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!