This is part three of the "Chasing Joy" blog series that will take you through the journey of one family to rescue their daughter, and walk alongside her in her healing journey.
When I’m asked how I found out “Joy” was being trafficked, it makes me feel so ignorant. Ignorance is bliss, right? I had NO idea that sex trafficking was a “thing” where we lived. NO IDEA. Joy was a girl that had gone down a wrong path of using drugs, hanging out with the wrong crowd, looking for acceptance from anyone that would give it to her. It didn’t matter what I said or what I did; she didn’t want any part of us. I thought it was pure rebellion. Yes, it was a part of the issue, but, in this case, there was so much more going on.
While I stalked her facebook account(s), yes, she had two accounts and two cell phones (one for personal and one for “clients”), I thought all the posts and pictures of her being with these people was just her being promiscuous or sexually active. Then I started seeing that there was money involved. Lots and lots of cash. They would take photos of the money and it would always tie back to HIM, her so-called “fiancé”. He was in jail at the time, and I remember the DA told me, “he’s even more powerful behind bars”. Joy and others would deposit money into his bank account even while he was in prison.
If I’m being completely honest, it wasn’t until we moved out of state that I realized that what had happened to my daughter wasn’t a result solely of her choices. I had lunch with a friend of a friend, who helped start an organization for victims of sex trafficking, and while I was telling her ALL the things that Joy had been doing, how I couldn’t believe she would do all of this, she was raised better than this, she was saved by the grace of God, and how I TRULY thought this was all a choice -- she made it extremely clear to me that this man, introduced to her by the way of “Romeo Pimping”, had 100% done this to her. And, YES, he was a pimp.
I recall a day when one of the detectives contacted me and said they had a recorded phone call of Joy’s “fiancé” pimp from prison and some other girl. They wanted my Joy to hear the conversation to open her eyes to WHO he was and that she was NOT his only “love”. Joy refused to hear the call and said they were lying. I consider her blessed that she wasn’t forced at gunpoint or beaten (like so many are) but she was being abused nonetheless.