A Call to Support Hope
There is a name I wish to shout from the rooftops – Shandra Woworuntu. She is Indonesian, a mother, activist, finance analyst – and she happens to also be a sex-trafficking survivor. Her story is incredible, devastating, and inspiring, and it certainly is far from over. Her story also includes a key point which should encourage all of us who support The Harbor and the vision of North Star Initiative.
I will try to keep it concise, as the story begins with an unfortunately common introduction. After a financial crisis in Asia, Shandra came to America when she was promised a wonderful job opportunity here in the United States. She was told it would allow her to provide for herself as well as send money home to her small family. As you may expect, it was all a massive lie, which played out over many, many dark months.
I hope you will read the article yourself, but I will skip over the details of Shandra’s forced “work” in order to pay off her “debt”. I will omit the parts explaining the trafficking cycle, how deep the corruption hole went, and the endless exploitation of the girls that the traffickers benefitted from. I’ll leave out the bits about the authorities not believing her, her homeless nights begging for someone to believe her story and help the other women, and the soldier who finally listened. For now, I wish to highlight a part of Shandra’s story that is sorely undervalued – her restoration.
After finally having the FBI on her side to raid and rescue the brothel where she and the other women were kept, Shandra was pointed to a restoration home called Safe Horizon. It was here that she was given love, healthy attention and counseling. It was a place where she could soak in much needed healing, and it helped to begin a path of peace.
I am so grateful for a place such as Safe Horizon. And I am equally grateful for the vision of The Harbor. North Star Initiative recognizes the value of having a safe place for women who have undergone such specific tragedy. Survivors of trafficking need hope, peace and love, and The Harbor is that place.
I hope you will visit the North Star Initiative website yourself to learn more about this wonderful home, but I will skip over the details of how strong The Harbor’s program is. I will omit the parts explaining how the women will receive access to medical, psychological and educational care. I will leave out the bits about The Harbor providing a safe, holistic environment for any woman who has experienced this deep trauma. Instead, I will highlight the fact that this home will be a crucial point for many survivors. As Safe Horizon was a haven for Shandra, so will The Harbor be for other women like her.
As you read stories like Shandra’s (which I need to point out was released only a few days ago, March 30th), please don’t finish the article and think, “I’m glad that home was there for her!” The response I beg of you is, “What can I do to make sure a home is there for other women, too?” The answer is here at your fingertips, and it’s called The Harbor. Be a part of someone’s restoration story. Help support hope. Help support The Harbor.
Woworuntu, Shandra. “Shandra Woworuntu: My Life as a Sex-Trafficking Victim.” BBC Magazine. BBC, 30 Mar. 2016. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.