Crowned. When you read the word, what descriptions come to mind? For most, it signifies one who is deemed royal, favored, respected, and dignified. But for women who have been the victim of sex trafficking, being “crowned” has a completely different meaning.
Recent reports show that when a woman is coerced into sexual slavery her pimp will often brand her like an animal, declaring his “ownership” over her body. Traffickers will often tattoo a crown, gang symbol, or money sign on a woman’s body as well as phrases such as “Property of” and then the exploiter’s name. These women are stamped with a permanent reminder of their exploitation.
Even more sickening, some of those women were children when they were brought into prostitution. At as early as age 12, pimps will get the young women addicted to drugs so that they don’t leave.
Jennifer Kempton was one of those women. At age 12, she was forced into prostitution in the city where she grew up, Columbus, Ohio. She was addicted to drugs, beaten, and forced to have sex with hundreds of men. In 2013, Jennifer felt she’d had enough. She tied a rope around her neck to hang herself, but the rope broke.
In a CNN interview, she said,
“God came to me and spoke to me, and he said I have a purpose for you and it’s not to die in the basement of a crack house.”
Jennifer escaped from the bondage; however, she still had multiple “brandings” from different pimps. She paid to get one of the tattoos covered over with a cross and 1 Corinthians 13, the verse that speaks to what true love actually looks like — the type of love that she now understands that her Redeemer has for her.
While the first covered marking helped in the healing process, she was still left with a few other tattoos that served as daily reminders of the pain which she’s experienced. In order to help free her from those weighty reminders, a family member gave her enough money to be able to cover the rest of her tattoos.
After all of her brandings were covered, Jennifer said,
“I am no longer marked with the Name Of, or as the Property Of … a man that manipulated me, abused me and coerced me into the streets to be a sex slave.”
For that reason, Jennifer decided to start the organization Survivor’s Ink.
Survivor’s Ink is a non-profit organization which seeks to cover the markings of enslavement by offering scholarships to survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation so that they may have their brandings covered or removed. Mike Prickett, the tattoo artist at Survivor’s Ink, volunteers for no payment other than the reward of seeing women transformed. One young woman who escaped out of sexual slavery worked with Mike to come up with a design to cover up her exploiter’s marking.
She had this to say,
“Finally, I’m going to be me again. I’m not going to belong to anybody but God, and that’s how it’s supposed to be.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Hannah Wegman is the Project Coordinator/Writer at Concerned Women for America (CWA), the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with 500,000 members across the country.