Resa Woodward is a victim of a crime. A person is a victim of sex trafficking when another person, a pimp or trafficker, uses violence, threats, lies, or coercion to compel her into commercial sex acts against her will. A person forced to work in pornography falls into this victim category.
It took tremendous determination for Ms. Woodward to overcome trauma, become a teacher and improve her life. She should be applauded for her courage, yet is being penalized for something she was forced into decades ago.
Sadly, working with trafficking victims for 19 years, we hear this story often. Victims are blamed for abuse and few are given the opportunities needed to rebuild their lives. We have seen personally at New Friends New Life that holistic services can help victims overcome trauma so they can achieve a second chance at life, which, like Ms. Woodward, they deeply deserve.
Sex trafficking is a horrific form of abuse that happens daily to women in our community. But it is not a women’s issue; it’s a human rights issue. We must treat victims of this crime with encouragement and dignity. They are not criminals; the ones who benefit from their abuse are.
Kelly Cruse, Executive Director of New Friends New Life
Chris Kleinert, Chair, Men’s Advocacy Group of New Friends New Life