As a survivor, the holidays weren’t the best for us. I don’t know about you, but as for me I didn’t have my family, my last Thanksgiving before my trafficking was when I was gathered with my family. Me and my sisters would do most of the cooking, my mom would make homemade apple pie, our aunt would come and visit as well. That’s what I remember about Thanksgiving. The years after that haven’t been the same. The last Thanksgiving I had with my family since I’ve been out of my trafficking scenario was when my son was a baby, but it didn’t feel welcoming. At that time I didn’t know what “trafficking” meant and to my family I was this prostitute and they were ashamed of me. When we’d go to Thanksgiving Mass at the Korean church the members would ask my family where I have been and I would hear my parents lie and say I was at a school far away. It was to keep the peace at the church, but it made me feel like a failure. Since then I haven’t revisited my parents home for the holidays, I’ve been either spending it with friends who value and respect me.
My family wouldn’t even call to say, “Happy Thanksgiving”, they would call to see if my son was there and other times they would ask if they could keep him for the holidays and I was never invited. If you’re wondering what type of blog this is, it’s me venting, because I am hurt. Most girls from trafficking scenarios didn’t have a “Happy Family Home”, most would run away from an abusive parent or home and when they have come out of the abyss, they are faced with the familiar emptiness, that is what I want you to be aware of. If you want to do something nice, invite one of them to your home for Thanksgiving it ‘ll be the best gift you could give this year. Today, I consider my friends my new family and this year will be emotional, because since my husband is not available for Thanksgiving I was going to invite myself and my son to my family since we recently connected, but I have tried to get in contact with them and have not received a phone call yet. My assumption is they saw the news, where I appeared sharing my story of trafficking the one thing my mother forewarned me about. My mother knew about me doing speaking of Human Trafficking, but what she didn’t want me to do was to share my story, she said it would affect my family’s reputation. What would the other Korean families think of them? I use to carry guilt and shame when I was in hiding, I was too afraid to share my story afraid I would be rejected and no one would believe me, but in the years that I have spoke I saw the change and the phone calls and letters I would get from families who’s had or have a missing child, giving them some hope that their child could still be alive or that they weren’t going through the pain alone. Holidays aren’t the easiest for me and there are times I find myself in anxiety of spending it alone.
If you are a survivor reading this, please know that you are not alone tonight and if I was there I’d invite you to my home and we could spend Thanksgiving together, enjoying all the food and company. This year I am truly blessed with my friend, Melanie and she has invited me to a Thanksgiving gathering from one of our church members. My son on the other hand is bummed out because he wants to stay behind and play with the neighbor’s kid. I may not have the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner like they have in the movies, but I have my own family, my friends who love me and my home to share the celebration. Thank you for letting me share.
Note to survivors:
(Feel free to share your Thanksgiving moments. I’d love to hear your frustrations and joys. You are welcome to remain anonymous.)