“The first thing they asked was, ‘how can we help you?'”
By Jean Marie Davis
Ed. Note: the following testimony was presented February 15 to the Senate Health & Welfare Committee in its review of S. 37, the abortion/transgender shield law that also would allow the Vermont Attorney General to bring civil action against crisis pregnancy centers for allegedly misleading advertising. The committee is expected to vote today on sending the bill to the full Senate floor.
I’m a survivor of Human Trafficking in the United States for almost twenty years. Over the many years of being trafficked, I remember a situation that dealt with a woman who was pregnant.
One night I was being sent out to make money for my trafficker, and a woman I trafficked with was pregnant. Her trafficker did not care she was due. His focus was the money. He gave her some drugs and sent her out. When we left the motel about 5 to 10 mins later, she gave birth to her baby on the sidewalk, cut the umbilical cord, and continued to walk in hopes of making money. She knew not making money meant her receiving bruises.
I could not help or do anything because my trafficker would have punished me. That is just one situation I experienced in the life of being trafficked. When I got away from my traffickers, I became homeless in a DV Shelter in New Hampshire. The Shelter told me the Pregnancy Resource Center was a Christian faith-based organization. Being raised as Jehovah’s Witness, I didn’t care; I needed help.
My first time at the center was the best experience ever. The first thing they asked was how can we help you? They provided me with clothes. They then asked how far along I was and what my plans were. I explained that I did not want to keep my baby because of traffickers. I explained that I didn’t want a girl because I didn’t want my daughter to go through the things I went through. However, I would keep the baby if it was a boy.
They did an ultrasound, which was the first time I saw my child. I knew then I couldn’t get rid of my baby. I expressed that I wanted to keep my child. I asked for help. They presented a program for women and children with drug problems. I said yes, I would try the program. They then informed me that it was a faith-based program that believed in Jesus Christ. I didn’t care. I just wanted help. They shared the gospel with me. I accepted Jesus Christ that day.
They continued to help me until I entered the program two weeks later. Once I had my son, the director and the staff member visited me at the program. They brought me gifts for my son and me.
Because of the pregnancy resource center, I not only graduated from the woman’s program. I went to Northpoint Bible College and graduated with an Associate Degree. I have become an advocate for Human Trafficking. I help women in the same situation I got out of almost nine years ago. Now, because of Jesus, I can be a director of Branches helping men and women. “We do life with each other” is one of our statements.
The author is the Executive Director of Branches Pregnancy Resource Center in Brattleboro.